Flood-battered businesses brace for more rain

June 9, 2008

Cummins Inc. and other south-central Indiana employers are assessing flood damage in around their businesses as they prepare for the possibility of more storms this evening.

Gov. Mitch Daniels has declared 29 Indiana counties disaster areas. As much as 11 inches of rain fell in parts of Indiana over the weekend. The National Weather Service said another storm could drop up to 3 inches of rain late tonight.

The southern half of the state has experienced the heaviest flooding.

Columbus-based Cummins said it suffered the worst damage in two buildings that house its primary research-and-development testing areas. The basements of the buildings flooded, and the first floors collected three to four feet of water.

The buildings house large and heavy engineering equipment. "Water came in very quickly," said Mark Land, spokesman for the diesel engine maker. "The stuff in there is not easily moved." Those buildings will remain closed today, Land said.

"Slowly, but surely, we're getting stuff back together, but we're just now starting to see all the damage," he added.

It's too early to assess the cost of damage, Land said.

Three other Cummins buildings along Haw Creek had water damage, as well. A health center, a day care center and the company's engine plant all suffered damage from the storms and floodwaters.

Officials at nearby Columbus Regional Hospital were forced to evacuate more than 250 staff and patients over the weekend. Water filled the hospital's basement, and the first floor was covered by a couple of inches of mud.

About 150 residents at a nursing center in Morgan County had to be moved.

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