Friday night’s flooding in Bloomington took many by surprise, especially downtown and on Kirkwood Avenue. Bloomington Fire Department Deputy Chief Jayme Washel spoke with the Indiana Daily Student about what happened last night and how to stay safe if there’s additional flooding tonight.
Washel said the fire department got 37 calls and undertook 17 water rescues between 9:30 p.m. yesterday and 5:30 a.m. today, and that most of those rescues took place downtown. A couple took place in Switchyard Park, he said.
“We had a tremendous amount of water in a little amount of time,” Washel said.
The moving water also pulled leaves and other debris into sewer grates, clogging them and allowing the water to rise faster.
He said he does not expect tonight to be as bad as last night, when water levels rose to about five feet deep on Kirkwood Avenue. But if it is, the Fire Department is prepared to handle it.
To prepare for flooding, Washel said overall awareness of your surroundings and the weather is important. He also said to avoid attempting to navigate through the stormwater, by car or otherwise.
“Six to eight inches of water will move a vehicle, especially if that water is moving,” Washel said. “Don’t try to drive through it.”
Washel also said anything that was on the street before the water rose would be in the water, so broken glass, nails and other dangerous objects could hurt you if you tried to walk or swim through it. If you become stranded or in need of assistance, call 911 rather than attempting to drive or otherwise navigate through the stormwater.