I’d like to introduce you to Highland resident, Sherry Croach. She has been sending me flood photos from Highland over the past few days and wants to share with you her experiences around The Region, some photos and a little report from the personal side of things. Please feel free to leave comments here on the blog or send them in via email.
Do you have a story to share about the flood of 2008? Please send an email to Kim: email@example.com
Click the image below to see all of the photos that Sherry has submitted.
Oh boy, where do I start? I know – the weekend of September 13th – it all started with all this rain and it just wouldn’t quit. By Sunday night, my husband, Paul, and I knew we just might not make it to work as we were hearing about flooding going on in Northwest Indiana, us living in Highland and how bad it was in Munster.
Before even attempting to leave the house Monday morning, I called the non-emergency Highland Police Department number to find out what roads MIGHT be open – Uh, Kennedy Avenue, no; Cline Avenue, no; Calumet Avenue – definitely no. Indianapolis Blvd. – just northbound. Okay, thanks and sorry to bother you. The person I talked to said if I didn’t have to go out on the roads, don’t. Oh, 45th to Kennedy - they’re getting ready to close that now. Not the news I wanted to hear. We both stayed home as there was “no way out” of Highland at that point. We felt stranded.
We decided about 10 a.m. to go check out the Little Calumet River on Kennedy Avenue – oh my!! We could not believe our eyes. First, the river was really high – higher than I’ve ever seen it. The new retaining wall was holding, thankfully and only about 2-3 feet left before the water would reach the top. You could still walk on the bridge but not all the way over. The parking lots over by Wendy’s, Cracker Barrel, the hotels – you could no longer see. It was one big, gigantic lake. We had heard Saturday night they evacuated the hotels. Quite a few people were checking out the river and couldn’t believe their eyes. And they were pumping water into the river from the expressway.
We kept going back about every 2 hours on Monday and it just kept looking worse. I just could not believe what I was seeing and then watching the news and seeing overhead shots – wow!!!!! And me loving to take pictures, had to take my camera and even some video to send to relatives, friends.
September 16, 2008 - We made it to work on Tuesday – through a roundabout way for me as the only road still open was Indianapolis Blvd. But the commute coming home in all this mess was not fun. I work in downtown Chicago and just getting from the South Shore Train station in East Chicago back to Highland took over an hour – what is supposed to only take on average 10 minutes. Tried to go to Cline Avenue south; nope they closed it again. Got on Cline Avenue north – came back to Michigan Avenue and spent a half hour trying to get to Kennedy Avenue. Yahoo – we’re on our way south – got to 173rd, turned left to go to Indianapolis Blvd. – oh boy, traffic backed up there too – another 20 minutes spent sitting around and inching along. Indianapolis Blvd. moved quite quickly and finally got home.
Paul and I decided to go check out the bridge and what we saw from the distance when walking from Plaza Lanes bowling alley was unbelievable. They now had more dirt up – they actually put a dirt barricade over the whole width of the bridge on the south side. I looked at Paul and said, “This is not going to be good”!!!! It was awful. The water had risen probably another foot, maybe more/less – yet not reaching the top of the NEW retaining wall – that was a lifesaver wall they just finished. Water was starting to “slap” over the bridge – but not much – but also creeping on in the southern corner. We saw sand baggers working again today filling up the sandbags as fast as they could.
We did run into 2 ladies in a car and the one mentioned she made 25 quarts of soup for the sand baggers and they ate all but 1 quart. Town of Highland came together once again. The Town of Highland workers were busting butt to get the dirt back and forth and making sure to keep everyone safe.
Wednesday – September 17th: As we’re walking towards the bridge/river once again, we were wondering if the water had gone down. As we got closer a guy was standing on the dirt barricade just looking over all the mess – I did take a picture as I think it shows just what people are seeing and how they react. Geesh – again, the water had come up even more on Kennedy and they were putting more blocks/dirts on the north edge of the bridge. Workers still out there and they were still pumping water from the expressway. This is like so unbelievable. We decided to stand up on the dirt barricade and it was so sad to still see the Wendy’s, other businesses and parking lots all under water. The retaining wall was holding and it looked like less than a foot to go before hitting the top, maybe a little more. They added another pipe to pump water into the river and it was really high. The workers were still on the north end of the bridge and we saw quite a bit of water on the north end.
I tried a different way for my long commute home (but finding out not as long as others were traveling). Tried to go Michigan Avenue to Indianapolis Blvd. but some people feel they want to get through the red light and just basically sit in the middle of the road blocking everyone’s way – 2 left arrows and I gave up – turned around and went back to Michigan to get to Kennedy Avenue. I decided to take this route to 169th Street to Cline Avenue – oh boy!!!!! Not the best move as traffic was backed up – bumper to bumper. To find out, streetlights were out so it was nothing but stop/go traffic. I couldn’t believe that the golf course behind Kmart was completely flooded – man made lake – only saw tops of trees. Kind of scary when seeing all this water coming in all around you, wondering where will it all go.
Thursday – September 18th. I don’t know yet what we might see. I only hope the water starts going down soon before we get anymore rain. Commute home – I’m hoping to keep it under a half hour as I went to the Hammond South Shore Train Station and will again take a different route home. Only time will tell and I’m keeping my fingers crossed the expressways are opened up soon to help alleviate the traffic problems.
One thing I do want to mention, the workers from Town of Highland were really busting butt to get things done and to keep our Town safe. I saw neighbors going to help neighbors, hearing how people were going to sandbag. The same thing happened after the tornado came through - neighbors coming together with neighbors to help each other out to clean up the mess. I’m glad I live in Highland and am proud to be a part of it.
-Sherry Croach, Highland Resident