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City officials don’t anticipate flooding problems this week from snowmelt

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The Saint Marys River at Promenade Park in downtown Fort Wayne.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - Officials from Mayor Tom Henry's administration will be monitoring river levels, but they don't expect snowmelt will cause any real flooding concerns.

There is somewhere around a foot of snow on the ground, equating to a little more than an inch of rain.

As far as potential flooding goes, that might be noteworthy if you had a rapid melting event with temperatures in the 60's or 70's and some heavy rain thrown in as well.

However, while temperatures this week will be above freezing at times, they will only be in the 40's and no pouring rains are in the forecast.

That should promote gradual melting of snow and reduce the threat of flooding.

We're also starting out with a quiet picture on the city's three rivers.

"As far as overall flooding, if temperatures stay where they're predicted, we shouldn't have a concern. All the major rivers are down real low. Just checked them before I came out, so we've got plenty of storage area, you know, for the melt off," said Rod Renkenberger, the executive director of the Maumee River Basin Commission.

"Rivers are down to very low levels right now. So we have more than enough capacity in them to take on the water. The melting of the snow at a slow rate will also allow it to absorb into the ground," said Patrick Zaharako, Fort Wayne's Flood Control Manager.

There's been a series of flood mitigating projects in Fort Wayne over the past quarter-century or so, including a number of flood buyout programs, leading to the demolition of homes most vulnerable to flooding.

The river levels are down by design right now.

Work is underway to replace a bridge on Sherman Boulevard near downtown, sewer lines are being run across the Saint Mary's River by the City Utilities Department, and brush clearing is taking place in several locations on the rivers.

Water released through the Hosey Dam created low water levels and is helping make all those tasks easier.

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

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