Recap: Corps of Engineers Emergency Operations Center support to midwest floods

Published June 20, 2008

Louisville, KY –  The Louisville District Emergency Operations Center supplied 35 to 40 emergency operations staff who were fully engaged in the flood fighting process throughout 36 counties in Indiana and Illinois during the Midwest floods in June.

Thirty counties throughout Indiana were declared disaster areas. As a result, the states of Indiana and Illinois requested Corps of Engineers assistance to support their emergency response.

The Corps coordinated with Federal Emergency Management (FEMA), local emergency management officials, Indiana Department of Homeland Security Emergency Operations Center, and Indiana Department of Natural Resources to find and execute the best solution to protect the public.

The Louisville District offered support in the flood fighting mission by providing 14 pumps and 12 flood fighting teams which were spread throughout the affected areas.

At the request of FEMA, the Corps of Engineers provided technical expertise in the inspection and evaluation of 106 privately and state owned dams in Indiana. The 13 dam inspection teams found one dam that had already failed and seven dams which needed immediate action.

The Corps of Engineers eight flood control dams in Indiana continued to operate as designed. Had the lakes not been in place, the basin area would have experienced increased flooding along the reaches of the Middle Wabash and White Rivers area. The flood control reservoirs prevented an estimated $16.2 million in damages in urban and agriculture areas along Mill Creek, Eel River, White River, and Wabash River. Cagles Mill Lake near Terra Haute, Ind. set a new record level at 691.8 feet mean sea level (m.s.l.) which surpassed its previous record set in 1996 by 1.4 ft.

Louisville District’s levee inspection team completed a thorough evaluation of the levees in Indiana which had sustained breaks or had overtopped. Three levees, McGinnis, Blocksom-Jenckes, and Honey Creek, all active in the Corps Rehabilitation and Inspection Program in Indiana were breached. Wabash Levee Unit 8 which was inactive in the Corps Rehabilitation and Inspection Program overtopped and is not eligible for rehabilitation. The worst cases of levee problems occurred along the Wabash River, White River, and the East Fork of the White River.

Complying with the FEMA mission assignment the Corps has recently sent out nine bridge inspection teams to survey bridges that may have been damaged during the flooding in Indiana.