FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- Gov. Eric J. Holcomb added five counties to the disaster emergency he declared Feb. 24, Feb. 26, Feb. 27, and March 2 in response to widespread flooding and infrastructure damage caused by sustained heavy rainfall.
The governor signed a new executive order to include LaPorte, Noble, Posey, Wabash and Warren counties—in addition to Jackson, Kosciusko, Newton, Porter, Harrison, Jasper, Ohio, Pulaski, Benton, Clark, Crawford, Floyd, Jefferson, Spencer, Warrick, Carroll, Dearborn, Elkhart, Fulton, Lake, Marshall, Perry, St. Joseph, Starke, Switzerland and White counties—making 31 total counties covered by this disaster emergency declaration so far.
This declaration means the State Department of Homeland Security can take necessary action to provide expanded emergency services.
With the heavy flooding, it's been a challenge for both Wabash and Noble County.
"Part of the reason we declared this emergency is so people understand we can't get to you as quickly, so if you're going to work in one of these areas, if you're going to live in these areas, make sure you're able to take care of yourself to get there," Michael Newton, Emergency Management Director said.
Over in Wabash, their main concern is the bridge being washed out on County Road 1050 South.
They can't inspect it because it was submerged.
Meanwhile, residents in Noble are hoping to drop out of the flood stage.
"The water will come into the garage sometimes, so we put sandbags outside the garage to keep water from getting inside," Cheryl Ellert said.
Last year, water got in the house.
"Through our efforts in cleaning out exit paths and cleaning out log jams, we were able to reduce that impact significantly,"Diann Scott said.
"We're going to leave that emergency declaration in place until everything has gone down enough, if we get more rain, which is likely this time of year, we at least have a chance to prepare for it," Newton said
Newton said things are looking better, but they're not dropping their guard yet, paying attention to what's going on to prepare for an alternate strategy if they need it.