- Associated Press - Saturday, June 27, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Storms with heavy rains and strong winds caused street and neighborhood flooding in some Indiana cities Saturday and knocked out power to several thousand homes and businesses. Two people were killed when a car went out of control after going into high water on a road in suburban Indianapolis.

Water about a foot deep swamped downtown streets in the eastern Indiana city of Portland, while flooding receded in Muncie after reaching several feet deep in some neighborhoods early Saturday. High winds knocked down many trees in the Fort Wayne area, where some 30,000 power outages were reported and utility officials warned it could take days to complete repairs.

Storms that moved through Friday and early Saturday dumped 2 to 4 inches of rain across much of the state’s northern half, according to the National Weather Service. Warnings of minor to moderate flooding were in place Saturday for much of central and northeastern Indiana, where numerous roads were closed by high water.

The storms apparently contributed to the death of 39-year-old Armando Lara of Noblesville when his car crashed into a utility pole early Saturday after running into high water on a county road in a rural area just east of Noblesville, according to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department. Authorities said later Saturday that a 16-year-old girl in the back seat died from her injuries. They said two other juvenile passengers had minor injuries.

Officials didn’t report any home evacuations from the flooding.

Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler said he saw manhole covers being lifted off streets late Friday as storm sewers couldn’t handle the downpours that continued into early Saturday and water reached perhaps 5 feet deep on some neighborhood streets.

“The water didn’t play any favorites, it was everywhere,” Tyler said. “Water was in streets where I’ve never seen before.”

Emergency crews plucked several people from about a dozen cars stranded in high water during the night before most Muncie streets dried out Saturday.

Many roads in the state’s northern half were closed in areas that had already seen several inches of rain during June, leaving the ground saturated and unable to soak in more water.

Jay County emergency management director Ralph Frazee said 4 to 5 inches of rain fell in about 24 hours around Portland, which is some 25 miles northeast of Muncie. Frazee said U.S. 27 and numerous city streets were shut down in Portland and sandbagging was being done at downtown business buildings and homes.

The Salamonie River was running so high that storm sewers weren’t able to clear rainfall from city streets, he said.

“The river came up so quick and then until it goes down, the water is going to just be held up,” Frazee said.

The small city of Woodburn near Fort Wayne had street flooding in some neighborhoods.

Wind gusts topping 60 mph blew down scores of trees in and around Fort Wayne, contributing to power outages for about a fifth of Indiana Michigan Power Co. customers in Allen County. The utility company said it had more than 600 separate outages in the Fort Wayne area and that it could take several days for complete restoration.

Tyler said the storm sent water pouring into the basements of many Muncie homes and buildings, including City Hall, but that he didn’t yet have any estimates on the severity of the damage.

“What we need are probably 24 hours of no rain,” he said.



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