UTICA, Indiana (WDRB) -- Utica residents are heading for higher ground as lawns wash away, houses flood and some are left without power.

“The water is coming up pretty quick,” said James Payne, who lives in Utica. “We don't want to take chances.”

Volunteers pitched in with sand bags Friday morning to build a dam and redirect water away from homes.

“I don't think it's going to help,” Payne said.

By Friday afternoon, Payne was right.  The water quickly rose around Utica homes along the Ohio River.

“It's time to prepare for what we've got to do,” Payne said. “The worst.”

Payne is evacuating and is bringing everything in his home to higher ground at a school a few blocks away.

“I started loading our stuff up, bring it up here and store it in here until we figure out what's going on with the water and see where it's going to crest at,” he said.

Payne’s neighbors are doing the same.

“It will be three feet into that garage, so we have to get moving out,” Paul Myer said.

Chris Runyon is preparing for seven feet of water inside his brother's home.

“In 1964, it was over the top of the house,” he said. “In 1997, it was up to the ceiling.”

Runyon said it hasn't been this bad in several years.

The power is out inside some Utica homes, according to Duke Energy, but a spokesperson said there have been very few unpredicted outages.

“At this point, we’ve had few, if any, unpredicted outages in southern Indiana due to flooding,” Duke Energy’s Lew Middleton said. “If flooding is imminent, and in cooperation with local authorities, we will disconnect power from homes and businesses as needed. Depending on the scope of the flooding, we may go house-by-house to disconnect power. We may also shut power off to larger numbers of homes and businesses by disconnecting line fuses and transformers.”

The company has been monitoring the flooding and will disconnect power as needed.

It recommends shutting off circuit breakers in homes before evacuating.

“Before evacuating your home or business, we recommend that you shut off the main circuit breaker at your location,” Middleton said “When it’s safe to return to your location, turn your individual circuit breakers off, and then re-engage the main circuit breaker, and begin turning on the individual breakers one at a time.”

Across the river, LG&E is reporting more power outages, including dozens along River Road.  The company is encouraging people in danger zones to call and ask for the power to be shut off.

Traffic signals were turned off and replaced with stop signs along Third Street and River Road. The Third Street exit ramp from I-64 West was barricaded Friday afternoon.

Duke Electric added that it will be shutting off electricity in the Town of Clarksville along Walnut Grove Drive at the north end of Blackiston Mill Road at 8 p.m. Friday. The company said 15 homes and five businesses will be affected.

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