GREATER LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - As Greater Lafayette enters the second half of a rain-soaked week, the threats of both flash flooding and severe weather grow stronger.
It's no secret the area has seen a lot of precipitation the past few days, but you may not know the worst is yet to come.
WEATHER OUTLOOK | LOCAL FORECAST
WLFI Chief Meteorologist Chad Evans predicts roughly 2 to 4 inches of rain will have fallen over the area by Friday, a number that will be boosted greatly by a squall line of severe storms passing through late Thursday into early Friday morning.
"The main threats of this line of thunderstorms will be strong, straight-line winds in excess of 60 miles per hour, golf-ball-sized hail, cloud-to-ground lightning and heavy localized rainfall, possibly resulting in flash flooding and isolated tornadoes," WLFI Meteorologist Cameron Hopman added.
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Hopman says we won't have to wait till Thursday for some storm activity, however.
"While we'll continue to see isolated showers and thunderstorms throughout much of (Wednesday), the strongest of the storms will hold off until the evening," Hopman said. "Some of these thunderstorms may produce some small hail, gusty winds, isolated tornadoes and localized heavy rainfall."
The next two days' possible severe weather will contribute to the ever-swelling water levels. Current forecasts point toward a 17.1-foot water crest in Lafayette by Saturday.
"But," Evans noted, "I would not be surprised if it is more like 20 feet by late weekend."
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Several roads will be unusable if the Wabash River crests up to 20 feet, according to Evans.
At 20 feet, water could cover Stair Road (just off Route 225 in northeast Tippecanoe County), State Road 43 could close, some parts of River Road around Wabash Valley Hospital could flood and of course, plenty of nearby agricultural fields will be flooded.
Plus, before you head out this weekend, check your driving conditions through the Indiana Department of Transportation's (INDOT) traffic website.
If you do encounter a road that is flooded or washed out, no matter how shallow it may seem, experts say to turn your car around rather than attempting to drive through the water.
The Centers for Disease Control says more than half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water, and the main reason is people underestimate the force and power of water.
The National Weather Service says there are a few rules you should follow during a threat of flooding:
• Monitor your weather radio or WLFI on-air or online for weather-related updates.
• If flooding occurs, get to higher ground and away from dips, low spots, canyons and washes.
• Avoid areas already flooded, especially if the water is flowing fast. Do not ever attempt to cross flowing streams.
• Road beds may be washed out under flood waters. Never drive through flooded roadways.
• Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
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