Indiana levee breach leads officials to urge evacuations

Indiana Conservation Officers responded to the Kankakee River near US 231 after a levee failed on the Jasper County side of the river, causing large amounts of water to enter a residential area. (PHOTO: Indiana DNR Law District 10)

DEMOTTE, Ind. (AP) — A levee breach along the Kankakee River in northwestern Indiana has local officials urging about 30 homeowners to evacuate.

Keener Township Volunteer Fire Chief Randy Woods says the breach was relatively minor when it was discovered about 3 p.m. Friday near Demotte, about 50 miles southeast of Chicago. He says some local residents tried to sandbag the breach “to get it under control, but it just got bigger and bigger.” Local firefighters were called out to help them, but eventually everyone had to pull out for their own safety.

No injuries were reported.

The National Weather Service says record flooding was occurring along the Kankakee following several days of heavy rains and snowmelt that have sent streams out of their banks from the Ohio River to Michigan and Wisconsin.

Strong thunderstorms moving into Oklahoma and Arkansas on Saturday brought a chance for flooding and possibly tornadoes. The weather service says nearly 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain has fallen in parts of Arkansas over the past four days and up to 3 inches more was possible.