Ohio River Reaches Flood Stage

by Dalton Main on March 10, 2011

The Ohio River has officially reached minor flood stage.

At about 11 PM Wednesday night the river surpassed the official flood stage of 23 feet, and was running Thursday morning  at about 24.7 feet, almost two feet above flood stage.

The river is expected to exceed 28 feet this weekend, but the National Weather Service says they are still trying to get a handle on the amount of rain that fell upstream.

Mike Callahan with the National Weather Service says he was surprised by the amount of rain that fell in Louisville Wednesday afternoon, which is the main cause for the current flooding.

“When you get heavy rain locally, you’ll get a fast rise and a quick crest but it won’t be prolonged,” Callahan says “when you get the heavy rain upstream especially if it crosses most of the basin then you’ll get a prolonged rise but it’ll go higher.”

MSD Director Bud Schardein says standard flood procedures are working properly today. “We close off all the underground pipes that drain to the river so that water can’t back into the city” he says, “we close streets as the water rises at elevation, and we turn flood pumping plants on to pump whatever rainfall in the city falls, over the floodwall and into the river.”

9 of 16 floodwater pumping stations have been activated and it is estimated that 3 or 4 more pumping stations will be activated over the weekend. Some sections of River Road have been closed due to the flooding.

The National Weather Service says they are still analyzing data from the rain upstream to determine the full effects.

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