Winter weather causing trouble for residents living along the St. Joe River

NOW: Winter weather causing trouble for residents living along the St. Joe River

ELKHART, Ind -- Elkhart county residents along the St. Joe river are experiencing ice jams in their backyards leading to flooding issues throughout the county.

For years, residents along the river have notice problems with water levels and it’s not just during the winter season.

"We’ve been flooding about twice a year for the last five years and this time it’s due to all this ice dam," said Elkhart resident Connie Ebenroth.

Now, residents are dealing with chunks of ice crushed against the sea wall in their backyard.

Others seeing the ice in their yards, near their patios. and even flooding their basements.

"Last week we have four feet of water and ice in our backyard so we didn’t have a back yard and all of our neighbors are all being flooded having to run pumps in their basement," said Ebenroth.

Residents believe the problem stems from the water levels not being lowered enough and the possibility of having a broken sensor in the river.

However, according to the engineers from I&M who control the river from Fort Wayne, things are exactly where they need to be.

"It happens about every 2 or 3 years. AEP lowers the level of the water two feet early December every year to protect from that kind of thing from happening. But then when we have a cold snap like we did last week and the high wind, it causes a massive ice jam," said the president of the St. Joseph River Association.

Although it’s to be expected, as homeowners chose to live along the river, it doesn’t make the situation easier on their minds or their pockets.

"My one neighbor she’s so unbelievably frustrated because she’s running pumps 24/7. Widowed lady and she’s there by herself and she’s constantly got it going and she just put a new seawall in the channel and that cost a pretty penny and hoping that might solve part of this and it hasn’t. She’s still has the flooding in it. Another happened to be out of town last week and he called us and said hey, will go look and see how far up it is in my backyard? Because if it’s to the tree, then i have water in my house," said Ebenroth.

Neighbors say one thing that's come into play now, is homeowners now having to pay flood insurance.

A new requirement, that was not part of their insurance until recently.

Share this article: