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South Bend's infrastructure sees impact from historic flooding

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --  It's been two weeks since historic flooding hit Michiana. Now, everyone is beginning to see how it impacted roads, bridges and infrastructure across several cities. 

"A flood is the gift that keeps on giving, so these problems are going to continue to rear their ugly heads," says St. Joseph County Emergency Management Director, John Antonucci. "[They can] show up a month or two months or three months down the road."

It'll be a road to recovery filled with twists and turns. 

Antonucci says they still don't know the true impact of the effected areas and the damage.

But he does know, it's going to be extensive. 

"This even caused extensive and widespread damage to our infrastructure: our county, city streets, and drainage systems," he explains. "It was estimated that the river flowed about 16 billion gallons of water in that 36-48 hour occurrence."

That's a lot of water for bridges and streets to withstand for such a long period of time. 

They're already seeing some problems. 

"County roads are already eroding because they were under so much pressure caused by the high flood waters," says Antonucci. 

The city already had to close the Michigan Street bridge for a short period of time, because of the immense flooding. 

"[We're] trying to get a handle on how extensive the damage was and then being able to quantify that into some dollar amounts," he adds. 

But that dollar sign amount should come fairly soon. 

"We're reaching that time period that the federal government is giving us to get that information into them," Antonucci says. "If we reach the threshold of 9.4 million [dollars], we could be eligible for FEMA assistance."

But what if a FEMA declaration isn't given?

"It comes right out of the municipality's budgets. Most do have a rainy day fund, but certainly not to cover these types of damages," he explains. 

Hopefully, it won't come to that, he says. 

But if so, there's other ways of getting some help. 

"There is assistance through INDT, there are programs where we can request that assistance from INDOT," Antonucci explains. 

And he adds, this is why it's imperative that people report flood damage as soon as possible, to help get that assistance.  

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