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Local News

Roads Closed Due to Trees, Flooding Across Louisville

UPDATE 12:37pm: Louisville Water Company spokeswoman Kelley Dearing Smith says the company has no reported water main breaks in its system.

Morning rain and flooding have closed streets across Louisville.

According to MetroSafe spokeswoman Jody Johnson, a water main break near the University of Louisville has exacerbated the flood conditions. The break is at Cardinal Boulevard, east of Floyd Street, and Johnson says workers from the Louisville Water Company are on site.

More news and closures:

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Here and Now

Obama Calls For New ‘Square Deal’, Super PACs Will Likely Spend $1 Billion on 2012 Election, Pike County Community Sues Coal Company for Flood Damage: Today on Here and Now

1:06pm President Barack Obama is making a pitch to middle-class voters today in Kansas, talking about his proposed payroll tax cut and his plan to extend unemployment benefits.

1:11pm We are likely to see as much as a billion dollars spent by Super PACs to determine the outcome of the 2012 elections. These Super PACs are pretty new, but they have a lot of power and they can raise plenty of money. We’ll talk about their impact on the elections.

1:34pm Residents in an Eastern Kentucky town are suing the coal company after flooding wiped out their town. WFPL’s Erica Peterson joins us to explain.

1:49pm There are plenty of book apps for beginning and young adult readers, but not much for the ‘tween crowd. One librarian says she doesn’t think book apps will replace actual books for the youngest readers, but they might lure them to real books. Mary Ann Scheuer, librarian at the Emerson Elementary School in Berkeley, CA, writes the “Great Kid Books” blog.

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Local News

Metro Government Won’t Apply for Federal Disaster Relief

Residents and business owners in Louisville can apply for federal disaster relief money to cover recent flood damage, but Louisville Metro Government cannot.

The floods did not force the city to spend more than $2.4 million in emergency or recovery operations. That’s the threshold Metro Government would have to cross to qualify for federal relief.

But individuals in Jefferson and several other flooded counties can apply to the federal government individually, though mayor’s spokesperson Chris Poynter doubts many Louisvillians will.

“Very few people are likely to do that because most of the affected homes are along River Road and they already have national flood protection insurance, and that will most likely cover them for most of their losses.”

The floods will require the city to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on cleanup and overtime. Poynter says that money will just have to come out of the budget, though he’s not yet sure if any cuts will be necessary to cover the costs.

“That’s’ something we won’t know for certain until several months from now. The biggest costs to us are through our Public Works Department—people who had to barricade the roads and then clean the roads and Waterfront Park once the water receded.”

The city will have to spend at least several hundred thousand dollars repairing flooded streets and parks and paying workers’ overtime.

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Local News Next Louisville Politics

Daniels Issues Disaster Declaration For 34 Indiana Counties

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has declared a disaster emergency for 34 counties hard-hit by recent severe weather and flooding.

The state Department of Homeland Security’s Arvin Copeland says the declaration is a step toward a possible request for federal aid for the counties, many of which were affected by Ohio River flooding.

“We will go out next week and we will quantify and qualify all the damage we believe is out there to find out whether or not we officially meet that threshold to be eligible for federal assistance. That’s the process at this point.”

Copeland says homes, businesses and public property in the 34 counties appear to have sustained the most damage from severe weather that began April 18. He says more counties could be added to the declaration as additional damage is identified.

Copeland says property owners should document any weather related damage and infrastructure damage should be reported to local officials.

The counties in the declaration are: Benton, Clark, Clay, Crawford, Daviess, Dearborn, DuBois, Floyd, Franklin, Gibson, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Ohio, Orange, Parke, Perry, Pike, Posey, Putnam, Ripley, Scott, Spencer, Starke, Sullivan, Switzerland, Vanderburgh, Warrick and Washington.

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Local News

Flooding Fears Lead to Evacuation in Western Kentucky

Flooding concerns led to the evacuation of about 3,800 people from three western Kentucky cities on Tuesday. Kentucky National Guard Sgt. Cornell Marvin, a spokesman for the Kentucky division of emergency management, said most people have sought shelter with family members, but about 37 residents are spread out between four shelters. Marvin said two additional shelters are on stand-by in case further evacuations are needed. The cities affected are Hickman, along the Mississippi River in Fulton County, and the Livingston County cities of Ledbetter and Smithland, along the Ohio.

Additional information from the Associated Press.

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Local News

Flood Protection System Proving Effective

Despite this being the wettest April on record, with 13.6 inches of rain and counting, MSD Director Bud Schardein says Louisville’s flood protection system is working as designed.

The agency predicts that everything outside the flood plane will remain unaffected by the rising waters since all 16 flood pumping plants remain fully operational.

“I believe since the system was built” says Schardein, “that’s the first time we could say that every pumping unit in all 16 of those pumping plants is working right now.”

After 3 inches of rain last night, he says it was a close call this morning, but with today’s slight break in the rain, officials say the pumping stations will be able to catch up and the drainage channels will recede.

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Local News

River Expected To Crest At 33 Feet

The National Weather Service has predicted that the Ohio River will crest at 33 feet by Tuesday afternoon, that’s ten feet above flood stage.

Metropolitan Sewer District Executive Director Bud Schardein says the agency is working nonstop to ensure that the city is prepared.

“Staff has been working those stations 24 hours a day, they’ll continue to do so as the river rises, as of our briefing this morning the river was at 29.8 feet on the upper gauge,” he says “so you can see that we’re about 7 feet above flood and we haven’t been at normal pool since the early part of February.”

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Local News

With More Rain Expected, River Could Reach 33 Feet

The Ohio River is several feet above flood stage, and it’s expected to rise further in the coming days.

The river is over 29 feet high in Louisville. Flood stage is 23 feet. National Weather Service hydrologist Mike Callahan says rainfall predicted for Tuesday and Wednesday will likely bring the Ohio to 33 feet.

“We’re looking for another frontal system to come into our area, stall and possibly give us two waves of heavy rain. Just what we don’t need,” he says.

Callahan says after Wednesday, light rain may continue throughout the week, but the river will likely crest, then recede over the coming weeks.

“Looks like just maybe a slight chance of some rain on Thursday, then clearing out. So if we can get through Wednesday night…you’ve got to let the river crest and everything, but after that, the situation should improve,” he says.

This will likely be the wettest April on record for Louisville.

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Here and Now Local News

WFPL News: Today on Here and Now

Here’s what we have planned for Here and Now at 1pm: it’s turned out to be a pretty nice day, but there’s more rain on the way and the water is rising, flooding the riverfront and jeopardizing Waterfront Wednesday and some Derby events. MSD held a news conference a couple hours ago. We’ll get an update.

With the final week of the Indiana General Assembly, the possibility of a 6% tuition increase at the University of Louisville, and a hearing into the allegations surrounding councilwoman Judy Green… we thought we should get a look ahead from our news team, so we’ll chat with Political Editor Phillip M. Bailey and News Director Gabe Bullard.

Also this hour, we’ll remember the work of photographer Chris Hondros, who was killed in Libya last week. And we’ll talk to a linguist from Yale who is taking a census of American dialects. The result is a map of how English varies with geography, ethnicity and across time.

Tuesday sneak peek: Author Steven Levy will be in Louisville tomorrow to talk about his new book “In the Plex.” He’ll drop by for an extended interview on Tuesday.

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Local News

MSD Prepares For More Rain, Flooding

Metropolitan Sewer District Director Bud Schardein says the agency is doing everything it can to prepare for more flooding along the Ohio River and elsewhere.

The National Weather Service has predicted 3 to 5 inches of rain for the area this weekend and issued a Flash Flood Watch through Saturday evening.

“Number one concern is the rain, inland areas, low-lying areas, the caution to people who have had flooding before who might live in flood prone areas, be vigilant, we’ll be vigilant,” says Schardein “we run reconnaissance all night long through those neighborhoods, I just want you to know we’re prepared.”