Soggy winter leaves park flooded

GREENFIELD — Riley Park could be closed until next week as park employees work to clean up from the area’s latest flood.

The park is in a flood plain close to Brandywine Creek and is prone to flooding, parks superintendent Ellen Kuker said. But the park typically doesn’t have standing water this time of year. This December, however, has brought nearly double the average amount of rain. More than 5.59 inches of rain fell in Hancock County so far this month.

All but about an inch of that total fell during the last 10 days of December, according to the National Weather Service, leaving much of central Indiana soggy.

Early this week, standing water covered large portions of the 40-acre public park at Apple Street and U.S. 40 in Greenfield. Kuker said it will likely take a few days for the water to recede; then, park crews will clean up the mess, including the many tree limbs that will litter the grounds. Kuker hopes the park will reopen to residents, who had been taking advantage of the mild weather lately, early next week.

This December ranks No. 9 for the rainiest December on record, according to data from the National Weather Service. The rainiest December was 1990, when 7.72 inches of rain fell during the month.

The area saw relief from the rain Tuesday, when just a few snow flurries dusted the area. That’s a trend expected to continue in coming days, when the only precipitation expected is light snow and drizzle, said Earl Breon of the National Weather Service.

“We’re not going to see another heavy dose of rain,” Breon said. “Hopefully some of this water will run down.”

With no rain forecast in the next few days, Kuker said, the water in Riley Park should recede quickly. Until then, not much can be done to get the park reopened, she said.

Chains across all the entrances kept people out of the park Tuesday.

“We’re at the mercy of the water,” she said. “We have to let it recede on its own.”

How much rain?

This month is one of the rainiest Decembers on record for central Indiana. About 5.5 inches of rain has fallen since Dec. 1. Here’s a list of the top 10 rainiest Decembers on record.

1. 7.72 inches in 1990

2. 6.70 inches in 1957

3. 6.19 inches in 1918

4. 6.05 inches in 1884

5. 6.02 inches in 1971

6. 5.90 inches in 1873

7. 5.78 inches in 1982

8. 5.60 inches in 1923

9. 5.59 inches in 2015

10. 5.58 inches in 2008

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.