Indianapolis, In. — Gov. Eric J. Holcomb has issued a disaster emergency for 11 Indiana counties in response to widespread flooding and infrastructure damage caused by sustained heavy rainfall, including Dearborn and Switzerland Counties.The governor signed an executive order to include Carroll, Dearborn, Elkhart, Fulton, Lake, Marshall, Perry, St. Joseph, Starke, Switzerland and White counties. This disaster emergency declaration may be expanded to include other counties in the days ahead, with more rain expected and thunderstorms predicted in the southern part of the state.The disaster declaration means the state Department of Homeland Security can take necessary actions to provide expanded emergency services and is a step the state is required to take to request assistance from the federal government.“This is an important step in helping Hoosiers around our state who’ve been hurt by this flooding,” Gov. Holcomb said. “Our state agencies will continue to work hand-in-hand with local emergency management teams to help families weather the tragedies they are facing. I’m amazed by their resiliency. Looking ahead, we won’t hesitate to seek federal assistance if it proves necessary.”The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was activated Thursday morning and continues to maintain a statewide operating picture concerning the status of the ongoing flooding and respond to requests for assistance from local officials. The EOC has directly assisted counties by coordinating the delivery of over 700,000 sandbags, two water pumps, heavy equipment and vehicles, labor crews, traffic control, UAV photography and subject matter expertise on disaster response and recovery.In addition to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, other agencies providing services include the Department of Natural Resources, Indiana State Police, Indiana Department of Transportation, Indiana Department of Corrections, Indiana National Guard and the American Red Cross.The State EOC will continue operating, monitoring the status of the ongoing situation and providing support and resources across the state.Rain began late in the day on Thursday, Feb. 15 in the northern part of the state and received record-level rainfall through Wednesday, Feb. 21. As a result, the region has experienced unprecedented flood damage to properties and infrastructure. Widespread flooding continues, especially across northwest and northcentral Indiana. Central Indiana is under a flood watch. In the southern part of the state, thunderstorms are underway and expected to continue overnight. These storms may produce high winds, hail, additional rainfall and potentially tornadoes.The governor toured Elkhart and St. Joseph counties on Friday, learning about the flood damage and local emergency response efforts underway there. He will return from the National Governor’s Association meeting in Washington D.C. tomorrow and will tour more parts of the state affected by recent weather.