Cleanup continues after severe flooding in South Bend

Published: Aug. 17, 2016 at 6:35 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

A daily record of 7.69 inches of rain fell Monday, flooding much of South Bend.

In its aftermath, the rainfall, which has been dubbed ‘historic,’ has left homeowners and city officials, alike, no choice but to pick up the pieces.

Tuesday, Potawatomi Zoo was forced to close after severe flooding. It reopened to the public Wednesday; this time in drier conditions.

“What we experienced Monday night was a first for all of us here at Potawatomi Zoo, even some of our longtime staff,” said Marcy Dean, director, Potawatomi Zoo.

Monday night, Mother Nature took over.

“The water was past our ankles, almost up to our knees during the night on Monday. It was rushing in, it was rushing out of the Learning Center building,” said Dean.

The damage required major cleanup.

“A lot of drying out, a lot of squeegeeing; dirt had rushed into buildings,” said Dean.

South Bend street crews also took to making repairs. After such extensive flooding, side streets were actually relatively dry by Wednesday morning.

“This whole street was underwater, we had high water conditions,” said Bob Means, Battalion Chief, South Bend Fire Department.

Bowman Creek swallowed up a portion of one home near the intersection of Michigan and Fox. The creek flows just next to the house, causing part of its foundation to collapse Monday night.

“It’s a huge safety hazard; we're concerned about the foundation of the house giving way and the house collapsing into the hole as well,” said Means.

The grate shown in the video above was not visible Tuesday, as it was entirely submerged.

The home is on the city's radar. At one point Wednesday, street workers poured dye into Bowman Creek to see where the water was flowing. Additionally, a contractor was on scene taking a look at the property.

As water levels recede throughout the city, one local State Farm agent offers do's and don'ts when it comes to dealing with property damage.

“The common thing that's happening right now is a backup of sewers and drains, where the sewer simply couldn't take all the water in, it's backing up into people's homes. That, too, is a special endorsement,” said Calvin Johnson, insurance agent, State Farm.

Meaning that type of damage would not be covered by a normal homeowner's insurance policy.

“The first thing you want to do is take every precaution in protecting your items, so that means you get a wet-vac and start cleaning up,” said Johnson.

He says, then have a conversation with you agent to determine what your policy covers.

Johnson also advises that before you throw any damaged items away, take photos or videos, and create an inventory. He says insurance companies will need proof that those items did indeed exist.

You can also report damage from Monday’s rainfall online. This will help local emergency agencies better determine whether federal assistance needs to be requested in the area. To do so, click here.