Tippecanoe River Dam Overflows, Nearby Residents Urged To Evacuate

Feb 21, 2018

The Tippecanoe River below the Oakdale Dam has flooded after this week's heavy rainfall.
Credit Charlotte Tuggle / WBAA

A major flood warning is in effect for the area around the Oakdale Dam, just south of Monticello, where heavy rain has flooded the Tippecanoe River.

Indiana Department of Natural Resources officers spent Wednesday morning out on boats, helping residents to evacuate. Several mobile homes along the water are submerged, and houses downstream flooded.

Conservation officer Dan Dulin says many residents opt to wait out the floods, but he’s concerned about more rain expected later this week.

“For the people that live in the area, if we’re offering a way for you to get out now, that’s the best thing to do,” Dulin says. “We’ve run into situations where people tell us they’re fine now, and they’ll call back after dark.”

Dulin says officers had removed about a couple dozen people from their homes by noon. He says residents should take advantage of the opportunity to relocate while DNR officers are on the scene.

A boat sits along a flooded road just downstream from the Oakdale Dam.
Credit Charlotte Tuggle / WBAA

“We’ll come out after dark if it’s an emergency. But if it’s just because you waited, then you’re going to have to wait until morning,” Dulin says. “It’s much more treacherous, when you add darkness and high-moving water and obstacles in each other’s yards, to operate a boat so we want to do it safely.”

He’s also urging drivers never to drive through flood waters.

Clarence Miller lives up the road from the dam. His house sits on higher ground, so he’s not evacuating -- but he is checking up on some friends’ property along the river.

“I’m just keeping an eye on the place for them,” Miller says. “Ain’t much I can tell them right now, except that they’re underwater.”

The river last flooded this severely about a decade ago.