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Updates on Flood Recovery Efforts for Four Rivers Region

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Please check back here often, we’ll continue to update this page as more information comes in.

MINOR UPDATE 7:30 PM Thursday – Update to Road Conditions, Update to Montgomery Co

UPDATE 5:10 PM Thursday – Update to Montgomery Co, US Congressman Ed Whitfield sends support letter (read more about this), Added Conway intervenes in flooding lawsuit (section), Updates from Governor’s Office (See Overview, Beshear Section), First casualty reported (See Overview), Updated Road Conditions, US Senators Support Beshear’s Request for Assistance (General)

Submit your photos!

We’re gathering a collection of listener-submitted photos of flooding in the Four Rivers Region.  If you have photos you’d like us to add to this gallery, please send them to msu.wkmsnews@murraystate.edu – along with a caption and your name so we can credit you. Many thanks to the photographers for sharing these photos!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wkms/sets/72157626459444073/

April 2011 Flood Overview:

Gov. Beshear in Murray speaking with Angela Hatton

McConnell and Paul support Gov. Beshear’s request

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Rand Paul today sent a letter to President Barack Obama expressing their support for Governor Steve Beshear’s request for a federal disaster declaration for Kentucky. “Since April 22, record flooding, high winds, and tornados have swept through the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Forty-eight (48) counties and seventeen (17) independent municipalities have requested assistance, as the severe storms caused extensive damage exceeding the ability of the state government and localities to effectively respond and triggering significant economic hardship,” wrote Senators McConnell and Paul. “Timely and serious consideration of the Governor’s disaster declaration request on your part would aid in providing essential services to Kentucky communities so severely affected by this most recent disaster, the ninth major disaster to impact the Commonwealth in three years.”

Kentucky’s first storm-related fatality was confirmed Thursday. Mayfield Police Officer Andrew Washington was tragically killed in a weather related vehicle collision on Wednesday afternoon. “My prayers go out to the family and friends of Officer Washington, and I express my sincere appreciation for his service to the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Beshear.

Flood conditions along most minor rivers and streams will start falling today over western and central Kentucky following 12 hours of dry weather. Three additional primarily rain-free days are in the forecast for all of Kentucky.

In the wake of severe weather and damaging floods throughout the Commonwealth, particularly in Western Kentucky, Gov. Steve Beshear today requested a major disaster declaration from President Barack Obama.  Gov. Beshear is requesting Individual Assistance, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Crisis Counseling, Public Assistance, Hazard Mitigation and Small Business Administration disaster loans. “My administration has worked hard to provide assistance to struggling communities around the state during these storms,” said Gov. Beshear.  “If this request is granted, we will receive financial assistance to help them repair and rebuild their communities.”  Under a major disaster declaration, local governments, state agencies, small businesses, certain private non-profits (such as electrical cooperatives and water districts), individuals and households would be able to request financial assistance from the federal government to clean up, repair and replace property destroyed or damaged by the storm.  Read The Press Release

The National Weather Service has revised down flooding predictions on the Ohio River. As of midday, the Ohio River will crest  at 52 feet on May 1 in Paducah. This is three feet lower than projected yesterday. The river at Cairo is now projected to reach 60.5 feet by May 1, a record high level. The river is up to 58 feet at Cairo now. In Smithland, water will rise to around 51 feet, and may match the previous record level set in 1937.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is attempting to alleviate Ohio River flooding by cutting back outflow of the dams on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley through Friday. Their goal is to reach zero outflow. Barkley and Kentucky pool levels will begin to rise steadily before topping out above normal summer levels. The dams are expected to begin releasing water again Monday.

Some area school systems dismissed early today to avoid the danger of flash flooding along bus routes. Christian County Schools and Montgomery County Schools in Tennessee let out early. Hopkins County Schools and Henry County (TN) Schools canceled all classes today.

The Transportation Cabinet is providing equipment like pumps, dump trucks and sandbagging machines to counties who have requested them. Crews are also patrolling flood-prone areas and they are ready to respond to additional flooding. They also respond to calls about flooded roads that come from law enforcement or the public at large.

Levee in Smithland, Photo by Ky Transportation Cabinet

Reports of road closures due to high water or slides continue to be reported to the Transportation Operations Center (TOC), and crews from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet are responding. (See Closures Below)

Currently, 61 counties and 21 cities have declared states of disaster: Anderson, Ballard, Bath, Boone, Boyd, Bracken, Breckinridge, Bullitt, Caldwell, Calloway, Campbell, Carlisle, Carroll, Carter, Christian, Clay, Crittenden, Daviess, Elliott, Fleming, Franklin, Fulton, Gallatin, Grant, Graves, Grayson, Green, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, Henderson, Hickman, Hopkins, Kenton, Lawrence, Lee, Lewis, Livingston, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McCracken, McLean, Meade, Menifee, Morgan, Muhlenberg, Nicholas, Ohio, Oldham, Owen, Owsley, Pendleton, Scott, Spencer, Todd, Trigg, Union, Washington and Webster counties. The cities are: Bardwell, Benton, Brandenburg, Cadiz, Calvert City, Carlisle, Carrollton, Cynthiana, Frenchburg, Hardin, Hartford, Hawesville, Hopkinsville, Greensburg, Lawrenceburg, Lewisport, Maysville, Taylorsville, West Liberty, West Point and Wickliffe.

Please visit http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lmk to monitor river and lake levels throughout Kentucky. You may also sign up for United States Geological Society’s (USGS) Water Alerts, an application that allows you to receive updates at any of the sites where USGS collects real-time water information. Daily or hourly updates are sent via e-mail or text messages when the current conditions meet or surpass a threshold of concern that you determine. The site to sign up for USGS Water Alert is http://water.usgs.gov/wateralert.

US Senator Rand Paul issued this statement Wednesday afternoon.

The Kentucky National Guard Efforts

An aerial view of flooding in the region. Photo by Angela Rowlett

The Kentucky National Guard continues to assist communities struck by the storms. Currently, KyNG has approximately 125 Guardsmen and 24 tactical vehicles providing civic support to Western Kentucky in response to the flooding along the Ohio River. These soldiers are conducting water barrier and sandbagging operations in Ballard, Daviess, Livingston and Ohio counties, as well as law enforcement support in Fulton and Henderson counties.

Current Operations are as follows:

1. Ongoing Missions–All ground missions are being manned by elements of the 75th Troop Command. They currently have Soldiers deployed in Ballard, Livingston and Daviess Counties as follows:

a. Ballard County–Twenty-four Soldiers and four humvees from 2113th Transportation Company continue performing sand bagging operations to protect home sites, conducting around the clock operations in three 8-hour shifts.

b. Livingston County–Twenty-four Soldiers and four humvees from 2113th TC continue assisting in the construction of water barriers to protect the city of Smithland, conducting around the clock operations in three 8-hour shifts.

c. Daviess County– Thirty Soldiers and five humvees from the 206th Engineer Battalion and a sandbagging machine from the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center conducted sand bagging operations to protect a KEWS facility. This mission has been completed.

2. New Missions:

a. Ohio County: Twenty-four Soldiers and four humvees from 75th Troop Command are in Hartford, Kentucky, to conduct sand bagging operations to protect a Kentucky Utility Substation. They will conduct around the clock operations in three 8-hour shifts.

b. Henderson County: Fifteen Soldiers and six humvees from 75th Troop Command are in Henderson, Kentucky to conduct presence patrols in support of local law enforcement. They will conduct operations 1800-0600 daily in support of the Henderson County Sheriff. These unarmed presence patrols are equipped with Sheriff Dept radios. Their mission is to deter looting by their presence and to report any activity to Henderson County Law Enforcement agencies, who will then respond.

Next 24 hours:

a. Operations in Ballard, Henderson, and Livingston Counties are expected to continue at current levels for at least the next 72 hours. The sand-bagging mission in Ohio County should be complete within 48 hours.

b. The Kentucky Guard has been tasked to support to local law enforcement in Fulton County to assist in controlling access to flooded roadways leading to the levee system.

c. The Commonwealth Emergency Operation Center is staffed at Level 3 0600-2400. The KYNG Joint Operations Center (JOC) is staffed at Level 2, with augmented staffing and extended hours based on mission requirements.

For more flood relief photos and videos visit the Kentucky National Guard Flickr site http://www.flickr.com/photos/kyngpao/sets/72157626591744530/

You can see this story and more at http://kentuckyguard.com. You can also reach them on FaceBook at Kentucky National Guard.

Conway intervenes in flooding lawsuit – April 28

Attorney General Jack Conway intervened today in a federal lawsuit to help protect parts of Western Kentucky from potentially catastrophic flooding. “I intervened in this case because it is potentially a matter of life and death for Kentuckians who live along the river,” General Conway said.

The case stems from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ flood plan that has been in place since 1928 to help protect parts of Kentucky, Tennessee and Illinois from flooding. The plan calls for the Corps to detonate a levee on the Mississippi if flood waters reach 60 feet on the river gage at Cairo, Ill. The Birds Point – New Madrid Floodway is located along the Mississippi River near the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. The Corps purchased easements to farmland in Missouri, and the water would flood that farmland instead of destroying homes and businesses downstream in Cairo, Ill. and Hickman, Ky.

Yesterday, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster filed a motion in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri to stop the Army Corps of Engineers’ from detonating the levee because he said it would flood 100 homes.

Today, Attorney General Conway and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan intervened in the case to protect their residents. “River levels haven’t reached this high in 80 years and the Army Corps estimates that if the levees are not detonated when the river reaches 60 feet it could cause more than $32 million dollars of damage in Fulton County alone,” General Conway said.

If the levy is not detonated, Corps officials estimate that 3.9 feet of water will flow over the top of the floodwall in Hickman – endangering lives and property.

In a sworn affidavit, Fulton County Judge Executive David Gallagher said, “I have know of the Bird Point – New Madrid Floodway all of my adult life. The floodway is common knowledge in Fulton County. People have resided and built homes in Fulton County relying on the existence of this floodway as an alleviation of flooding problems in Fulton County.

Fulton County Attorney Rick Major has been assisting the Office of the Attorney General with the case. The federal judge hearing the case is expected to make a ruling tomorrow.

Congressman Tours Damaged Counties

US Congressman Ed Whitfield speaking with Murray Mayor Bill Wells

U.S. Congressman Ed Whitfield toured far western Kentucky Wednesday to survey flooding and storm damage. The Congressman hopes to visit twelve counties. Whitfield visited with Murray Mayor Bill Wells this morning, and discussed storm damage, as well as the possibility of federal disaster relief. Governor Steve Beshear is preparing to ask for a presidential disaster declaration. The Congressman says in times like these, it’s important to find out what county and city officials need. “Many of them have difficulties being reimbursed from the state and from FEMA. For there’s some communities who haven’t received all of their money from the Ice Storm, for example.” Whitfield met with emergency managers and judge executives on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Major and possibly historic flooding is expected in western Kentucky’s river communities.

On April 26, Chad Lampe and Chris Taylor from WKMS News surveyed storm damage and flooding in the region from an aerial view. Many thanks to Pilot John Hewlett, Dr. JD Outland for the use of his plane and Angela Rowlett for the photos. See the videos below. The first one surveys storm damage, the second surveys flooding.

Click here to see aerial photos.

From Governor Beshear’s Office

From the Office of the Governor, issued April 28:

Governor Steve Beshear traveled today to Western Kentucky to personally view storm damages that have been sustained by local cities and communities.  In his travels today, Gov. Beshear visited with emergency management officials in Paducah; viewed buildings damaged by straight-line winds in Murray; helped fill sandbags in Smithland; and surveyed residential flooding near the intersection of the Green and Ohio rivers in Beals.  In addition, he viewed the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and the levy protecting Hickman and Fulton counties from the Mississippi River by air.

“Today I have once again seen the damage and destruction that a natural disaster can inflict on Kentucky families,” said Gov. Beshear. “My administration has emergency management officials, members of the National Guard, employees from my office, as well as from a variety of cabinets, out in the field and staffing our Emergency Operations Center in order to ensure that all calls for assistance are met.”

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has requested a presidential disaster declaration. The Governor sent a letter to President Obama in the wake of severe weather and continued flooding in western Kentucky. Under a major disaster declaration, local governments, state agencies, small businesses, certain private non-profits, and individuals could apply for federal assistance for cleanup. Forty-eight counties and 17 cities have declared states of emergency. The Governor is out touring some of the most affected areas in western Kentucky today. Read The Press Release

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says may take a while to assess the total amount of flood damage. After the waters recede, the state should know if the cost meets the threshold for a federal disaster declaration. Beshear says he also anticipates asking for assistance from the U-S Department of agriculture for loss sustained to crop lands. The Governor plans to fly over the state tomorrow to get a firsthand look at the flooding’s impact.

From the Office of the Governor, issued April 27:

Governor Steve Beshear and Kentucky’s emergency management team continue to closely watch the severe storm system moving across Kentucky today. Weather officials are investigating reports of possible tornadoes and wind damages in several areas across the state. No injuries or fatalities have been reported.

“We have instructed our local officials to begin assessing damages from this storm immediately so that needed assistance can get to citizens,” said Gov. Beshear. “We have been in close contact with the Federal Emergency Management Agency since the system began moving into the state. With the potential for damaging high winds and historic flooding, we want to be as prepared as possible to help Kentuckians recover.”

“I urge Kentuckians to take appropriate precautions as these storms continue to move through the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Beshear. “The state is prepared to assist citizens and their communities for as long as the need is there.”

Alexander County, IL – Cairo

A federal hearing is ongoing as a judge decides whether to allow the US Corps of Engineers to breach a levee in Missouri. The state of Missouri has filed a petition to stop the break, which would potentially contaminate 130-thousand acres of farmland. Officials in Alexander County, Illinois, say releasing the levee would alleviate the record flooding in their county. Hundreds of residents have left Cairo as waters continue to rise on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.

As of Wednesday morning, the river at Cairo is projected to reach 60.5 feet by May 1, a record high level.

Shelter at Shawnee Community College in Ullin.

If you would like to volunteer, report to the Alexander County Highway Department.  It’s on Route 3 in Olive Branch.

Flooding by a house in Wickliffe. Photo by Ronda Gibson

Ballard County

Shelter at Margaret Hank Memorial Church in McCracken County.

To help with sandbagging, report to the Ballard County Road Department in Barlow and they will assign you.

Sandbagging Help Needed

Ballard County is requesting immediate help with volunteers for sandbagging and evacuations. Call Ballard County Emergency Services at 270-665-5083.

Ballard County Judge-Executive Vickie Viniard says they are in dire need of volunteers to help sandbag around people’s homes. If you are not busy protecting your own homes or businesses, Ballard County sure could use your help! Anyone who can help is asked to report any time they can to the county road department office on Lake Street in Barlow (across from the BC Senior Citizens’ Center).

Sand bag deliveries are coming in at Ballard County. Emergency Manager Michael Clarke says some families have already evacuated from Bandana and Oscar. Clarke says water will likely top out at 60 feet in Wickliffe. He says most of the town should be high enough to avoid flooding. Hickman County Judge-Executive Greg Pruitt this morning declared a state of emergency. He says the major concern in his county are the 50 – 60 households in the Moscow community. “They’re basically two entrances into that little neighborhood in the county. And when water gets up as high as it’s predicted, both ends of Moscow get shut off. And so we’re paying particular attention to that area.”

Calloway County, Murray

A wrecked car in a Murray neighborhood

See pictures of Murray storm damage.

Calloway County Emergency Management Director Bill Call says the damage from Tuesday morning’s high winds may be cleared from most roads, but recovery work remains.

Calloway EOC will remain open until the storm systems have cleared. Emergency personnel should keep radios charged and cars fueled for possible activation. A disaster declaration has been approved for Calloway.

According to National Weather Service spotters, hundreds of trees have been uprooted.  Power lines and poles have also been reported down on roads throughout Calloway.  Wind speeds up to 71 miles per hour were reported in Henderson County.  Gauges in Caldwell County recorded speeds of 50 miles an hour before equipment blew away.  Kentucky Mesonet also reported an 101 mile an hour wind in Calloway.

Residents of Murray should use reputable tree cutters and roofers from the region. In the city a business license is required for both services, so ask. Do not engage a tree cutter or roofer without appropriate credentials. Officials are being asked about homeowner debris removal sites and Judge Executive Larry Elkins advises that there is no permitted site at present, but one may be requested. Contractors should remove and dispose of debris.

Clearing out trees in Murray

All emergency services were reported up and running.  Both Murray City and Calloway County offices are open and operating. Gas, water, and sewer systems are operational. Phone systems in Murray are operational with the exception of Mediacom.

Officials: Damage to Electrical Infrastructure 10x Worse than 2009 Ice Storm.

Bee Creek Soccer Complex is CLOSED until further notice. Many trees are downed, goals are misplaced, nets are destroyed, and debris litters the fields.

Carlisle County

In addition to preparing for flooding, Carlisle County officials are also recovering from the weekend’s severe storm damage. No injuries were reported, but high winds, and a possible tornado tore off roofs and knocked down utility poles. County Emergency Manager Missy Roland says they’ve turned their attention to flash flooding. Roland says because the ground is so saturated, water will stick around in low-lying areas.

Bardwell Mayor on Suspected Tornado Damage

A suspected tornado over the weekend caused over $3 million in damage to downtown Bardwell and Carlisle County. Schools there are closed today. Several buildings’ roofs were torn off and others collapsed Saturday. Many utility lines and poles were downed causing electricity outages, but power has since been restored. No injuries were reported. Bardwell Mayor Philip King says several city firefighters witnessed the event.

“When you’ve got debris in the air spinning. That is a tornado,” King says.

The National Weather Service has been unable to send an assessment team to verify the weather event was in fact a tornado because of flooded roadways and current severe weather observation priorities.

Flooding in Hickman, Kentucky, April 2011 Photo by Erica Marie Blinco

Fulton County – Hickman

The flood wall in Hickman continues to me monitored for seepage and leaks. At this time the Hickman public works and the Army Corp of Engineers are working to install additional timbers in the gate areas to increase the protection.

The emergency operation center has been making every effort to contact those people located in the known flood plain areas to make them aware of the current conditions. If you require help with evacuation please contact the emergency operations center at 1-270-236-3480 or 236-2594

The Fulton County Sherriff’s office and the Hickman Police department are asking all residents and sightseers to stay away from the flood wall and levee areas. Those persons hindering the protection efforts or putting themselves in harm’s way and will be cited by law enforcement.

Again everyone is instructed to stay away from all sections of the flood wall and all portions of the levee.

If you would like to volunteer for the flood efforts please contact the Emergency Operations Center at 1-270-236-3480 or 236-2594 Please call before your come.

The high water is expected to remain for in the area for 6 to 8 weeks.

Fulton County Judge Executive David Gallagher announced that he has declared Fulton County in a state of emergency because of heavy rains and flooding along the Mississippi River. Emergency management officials met Monday morning with the Fulton County Levee Board, officials from the cities of Hickman and Fulton and emergency service agencies to make plans for what is predicted to be a flood of historic proportions.

Judge Gallagher and emergency officials are urging residents living in low lying areas to make plans now to evacuate if conditions get worse. Now is the time to check your emergency kit and evacuation plans. You are reminded to never drive through standing water. “Turn around, don’t drown.”

Graves County – Mayfield

Kentucky’s first storm-related fatality was confirmed today. Mayfield Police Officer Andrew Washington was tragically killed in a weather related vehicle collision on Wednesday afternoon. “My prayers go out to the family and friends of Officer Washington, and I express my sincere appreciation for his service to the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Beshear.

Henry County, TN – Paris

BPU still has around 2000 customers without power.

Henry County will continue to be under a FLOOD WARNING for small streams for the next several days.

Hopkins County

Hopkins County Schools will operate on a one hour delay, Thursday April 28th

Hopkins County Emergency Management Director Frank Wright says reports that a tornado touched down in the county Tuesday night are unfounded. Wright’s crew searched for signs of debris after a funnel cloud allegedly touched down near Morton’s Gap. He says they located no evidence. The National Weather Service is putting evaluations of tornadic activity on hold. Forecaster Deanna Lindstrom says the staff at the NWS office in Paducah typically survey storm damage a few days after an event. She says the repeated storms have kept the staff too busy to go out. The NWS plans to prioritize damaged areas later this week.

Emergency efforts in Smithland, Kentucky. Photo by James Elder. See more of his photos at wkyflood.blogspot.com

Livingston County – Smithland

Smithland is one of the areas hardest hit by the storm system moving through our area. Since Tuesday morning sixty residents have voluntarily evacuated from their homes in response to the flood threat. Emergency personnel are nearing completion of a levee along the riverfront in the city of Smithland. Livingston County Emergency Management Director Brett Stringer: “We’re using a portable levee system brought in by the army corps of engineers from a company down in Nashville that has really expedited the building of the temporary levee. It’s a lot faster than if we were actually having to put sandbags out there, in which we would be having to put about 100,000 sandbags (out).” Stringer estimates the levee will be complete within the next 60 hours. Evacuation for residents is not currently mandated by any officials. Evacuees without alternative shelter can find rest and food at a Tri-county shelter in Paducah.

As of Wednesday morning, In Smithland, water is expected to rise to around 51 feet, and may match the previous record level set in 1937. The Ohio River is forecast to rise well above the major flood threshold and major damage is expected.

Shelter at Margaret Hank Memorial Church.

If you want to sandbag, go the Road Department or the river front in Smithland or go across from the Dollar General in Ledbetter.

Sandbagging Help Needed

Livingston County is requesting immediate help with volunteers for sandbagging and evacuations. Call  Livingston County Central Dispatch at 270-928-2196.

Livingston County Schools remain closed until further notice.

Emergency management teams along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers are filling sandbags and recruiting volunteers ahead of possibly record floods next week. Livingston County Emergency Management Director David Koon says flooding at Smithland is his major concern. The river is expected to crest at 54 feet there, and Smithland’s flood gates only go to 50 feet. Koon says water will make it into town by Wednesday. He’s telling residents to get out. “Get somewhere to higher ground. If you don’t get out now, you’re going to get trapped behind the flood waters. And then we’re going to have a hard time getting to you if you have an emergency.”

Lyon County – Eddyville

Highway engineers have repaired a landslide along Kentucky 93 in Lyon County south of Eddyville. But Emergency Management Director Kenny Watts cautions, the repair is unstable and that section of highway is down to one lane. This is on KY 93 between the Holiday Hills Subdivision and Eddy Creek. Watts reports significant damage to Kuttawa Harbor, including a dock partially separated from the shore, one capsized boat and several more with superficial damage. A listener reports several boats leaving Buzzard Rock, where damages were reported, and heading to Eddy Creek. Overall in the county, he says roadways are cleared of trees, though some roads are still closed.

There is a shelter at Lyon County Senior Citizens Center.  They may also open up the Judicial Center.

No need for sandbags just yet, but if that changes sandbagging will be done at Lee S. Jones Park.

After the April 25 storms, Kuttawa Harbor suffered roof damage with a dock loose and one boat damaged, but operations will continue.

Marshall County

Marshall County residents can now pickup sandbags at the Special Projects Office – 158 Homer Lucas Lane in Draffenville. Residents will have available both filled and empty bags.

City of Benton – Sandbags and Sand available – Bags at Park Maintenance Building (Lean To) and Sand across from Church of Nazarene parking lot. Individuals can pick up the sand bags and fill them all hours at H.H. Lovett Park – 17th & Park Avenue Benton.

Individuals wishing to volunteer can call 270-527-3439 and provide coordinators their name, contact information, and specialties. Individuals will be matched to projects as they come into the center.

Everyone is encouraged to stay alert to changing conditions. City officials greatly appreciate the unity and support coming from the Marshall County community.

Sandbagging in Metropolis. Photo by James Elder. See more of his photos at wkyflood.blogspot.com

Massac County, IL – Metropolis

If you’d like to volunteer, contact city hall at 618-524-4016 or 524-2713

Waters continue to rise around Metropolis. Mayor Billy McDaniel says water is already creeping into the city’s floodplain. McDaniel applauds residents who are sandbagging around their  houses, though he says the efforts may be futile. “We probably will have a voluntary evacuation, y’know to try to get—we have many people that’s moving now. They’ve realized they’re fighting a losing battle there.”  Massac County Emergency Manager Larry Douglass says the Ohio River may get higher than the 1937 flood. Metropolis doesn’t have a flood gauge. National Weather Service officials say Paducah topped out at 60.6 feet in ‘37. Metropolis officials have opened Waldo Baptist Church as a community shelter, providing meals, showers, and laundry facilities to residents. McDaniel says another shelter at the city community center is opening today. That shelter will not provide food.

See (cellphone) video footage of flooding at a Metropolis, IL trailer park where residents allege officials “don’t care.”

Waters continue to rise around Metropolis. Mayor Billy McDaniel says water is already creeping into the city’s floodplain. McDaniel applauds residents who are sandbagging around their houses, though he says the efforts may be futile. Massac County Emergency Manager Larry Douglass says the Ohio River may get higher than the 1937 flood. Metropolis doesn’t have a flood gauge. National Weather Service officials say Paducah topped out at 60.6 feet in ‘37.

Metropolis officials have opened Waldo Baptist Church as a community shelter, providing meals, showers, and laundry facilities to residents. McDaniel says another shelter at the city community center is opening today. That shelter will not provide food.

Floodgates in downtown Paducah being installed on Monday, April 25 Photo by Chaplain Kempton D. Baldridge, Seamen's Church Institute

McCracken County – Paducah

Paducah’s LIVE camera snapshots along the Ohio Riverbank

Paducah has installed 37 of its 47 floodgates. City Engineer-Public Works Director Rick Murphy says Paducah is prepared for the forecast 53-foot Ohio River crest. The city will install the final floodgates only if the crest is projected to go higher. National Weather Service projections were revised yesterday two feet lower than previous estimates. Paducah city spokeswoman Pam Spencer says without a floodwall, Broadway would be three feet underwater when the river crests early next week. We have live webcam views of the Ohio River at Paducah’s riverfront here.

Shelter at Margaret Hank Memorial Church.

Sandbagging Help Needed: If you would like to volunteer to fill sandbags, call the McCracken County EOC office at 448-1500 and they’ll tell you where they need you.

The Tri-County Shelter at the Margaret Hank Church in Paducah is asking for volunteers to help distribute canteen items for those who are sandbagging. The shelter is also seeking donations for bottled water and grocery gift cards. Please contact the Paducah Red Cross chapter to assist in this effort: 270-442-3575.

Of some concern to law enforcement, are the areas of McCracken County where residents have had to evacuate their homes and businesses due to flood waters. Some of these residents and business owners have expressed some concern as to the security of their properties. Law enforcement asks persons to stay away from these areas if they have no business there. They are also asking people to respect others private property. This would include boating across other peoples property. Sheriff’s deputies and National Guardsman will be monitoring these areas closely until the flooding subsides.

Floodwall finished in Paducah, Photo by Kempton Baldridge

For most City of Paducah departments and divisions, work schedules are back to normal. Paducah is prepared for the rising Ohio River. Earlier this week, the Parks Maintenance crews were working alongside several other city crews to install floodgates. Today with the floodgates in place, the Parks crews are trying to get a handle on the rapidly growing grassy areas in parks and right-of-ways.

However, for the floodwall division and other divisions of the Engineering-Public Works Department, their work continues as crews monitor forecasts, pumps, and the minor water seepage at the floodgates. All 12 of the City’s pump stations are running and are being manned 24 hours a day. Last night, crews were able to finish the installation of the pumps near Lydon Road adjacent to the Interstate-24 exit 11 interchange. Those pumps are pumping water over the floodwall.

The current forecast for the Ohio River indicates the river cresting at Paducah next Tuesday at 53 feet. Flood stage is 39 feet. The current stage is 50.17 feet with little change from yesterday afternoon’s stage. City Engineer-Public Works Director Rick Murphy says, “Everything is status quo. We have switched from installation mode to observation mode.”

Photos: The labor-intensive process to install the City of Paducah floodgates is captured in a photo gallery on the City’s website at http://www.paducahky.gov. Click Gallery of Pictures on the left side of the homepage. There also is a gallery of photos and explanations of the levee and other protective measures being used to protect the Julian Carroll Convention Center and the Expo Center.

Learn about the Floodwall: To learn more about the 12-mile floodwall that protects Paducah, watch Your City at Work: Floodwall. The episode is airing on Government 11, the government access channel for the City of Paducah. A low-resolution version of the episode can be found on the City’s website. The episode initially aired August 2009; however, the information about the history, maintenance, and restoration of the floodwall continues to be relevant. In the episode, Public Information Officer Pam Spencer interviews City Engineer-Public Works Director Rick Murphy and Floodwall Superintendent Kenny Brannon about the floodwall’s construction from 1939 to 1940, floodgate installation, pump stations, and the sliplining process completed in 2010 to restore the pipes passing through the floodwall.

Your City at Work: Floodwall can be viewed on Government Channel 11 today at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday at 10:00 p.m. Next week, the episode airs Monday at 9:00 p.m.; Wednesday at 9:00 a.m.; Thursday at 4:30 p.m.; and Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

Web Camera: The public can safely watch the rising Ohio River by viewing the live feed from a web camera linked on the City of Paducah’s website at www.paducahky.gov. Click the Downtown Camera link on the left side of the homepage. The camera is near the Farmers’ Market in downtown Paducah and is turned toward the riverfront looking upstream. Users will be asked to enter the following username and password.
Username: public
Password: public

Flood Plain Map: City and County residents interested in knowing the location of the 100 year flood plain as mapped from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can access the information through the City of Paducah website at www.paducahky.gov. Click on the “Maps” link on the left side of the homepage. Users of this mapping service can search for an address or a road and view the location in relation to the 100 year flood plain. Instructions on how to use the map can be found by clicking the help link at the top right of the map page.

Update regarding Quilt Show

From Elaine Spalding, Paducah Chamber: The flood gates are being installed and Paducah is in a state of emergency due to high water. However, the AQS Quilt Show is still on!

All the events scheduled in Expo Center & Convention Center have been relocated.
Quilt Museum – open w/ same events + Food tents and Live Auction
Carson Center – open w/ same events
Expo Center & Convention Center – closed; events moved to Pavilion
Pavilion – open; previous vendors moved to Mall area (old Circuit City and Office Max bldg’s)
First Baptist Church – venue for seminars

The CVB is printing new maps & PATS will have all this info for Quilters.

Montgomery County, TN – Clarksville

As of 6:30 PM, approximately 700 customers are without power. Power has been restored to several addresses on Old Russellville Pike, Ridgeland Dr, Dunbar Cave Road, some areas of Needmore Road, and West Park/Allenwood. Crews are in Cumberland Terrace (near Clarksville Academy), Cumberland Drive, Loupin Drive, Pitty Pat/W Rhett Butler/Melanie (in Plantation Ests). Crews are finding bigger problems as they arrive to new locations. As they get to these new areas they are finding poles broken, bad transformers and more wire down. Officials understand that customers are frustrated. They are doing everything they can to get as many customers back in service as possible. This outage was spread out across the city. CDE covers 100 square miles of service area with nearly 900 miles of line. Also, Customers with medical situations should make necessary arrangements for their needs, as we will not be able to restore power to many individual locations tonight.

Street or road closings, as well as significant damage reported, will be posted to both the city and county websites, and to the county’s Facebook page.

Trigg County

Straight-line winds made a seven- or eight-mile swipe through Trigg County. Emergency Management Director Randy Wade reports downed trees have taken out power lines and about at last report, about 1,500 customers were still without power. Wade says the majority of the damage he’s seen has been roof damage—a metal roof stripped from a structure, and damages from trees falling on homes. He reports no injuries as of yet.

Land Between the Lakes

Despite the recent weather difficulties, the Adventure Tourism event scheduled for Friday at Lake Barkley State Resort Park is on schedule starting at 2:00 pm. Public is invited.

Tennessee Valley Authority and the Corps of Engineers are predicting the lake level for Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake to rapidly rise to 372 feet by May 2nd (13 feet over summer pool). The current lake level is 363.5 feet and is predicted to rise to 368 feet by Saturday. This will greatly impact LBL’s boat ramps, campsites (campgrounds, backcountry areas, and self-service areas), trails, and roads. Efforts are underway to barricade and close all impacted areas.

Visitors to Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area (LBL) are encouraged to check the Alerts & Notices page on our website at http://www.lbl.org or to “Call Before You Haul,” 270-924-2000, for current information, closure lists, and details due to the recent storm damage and the predicted rise in lake levels.

Use caution on all roads and lakeside areas in LBL due to possible flooding from rising lake levels and overly saturated soil conditions. LBL staff warns visitors who use the trails, roads, camping areas, and boat ramps to be extremely cautious and observe all closures for your safety.

In addition, everyone is urged to use caution when crossing creeks, streams, or any areas with standing or flowing water. All low lying areas should be avoided whenever possible. Gravel roads have the potential to washout during these heavy rain events. Please use extreme caution when traveling on LBL’s gravel roads.

Wranglers Campground and Turkey Bay Off-Highway Vehicle Area will remain closed until further notice due to this week’s storm damage.

Check the Alerts & Notices page on the LBL website or “Call Before You Haul,” 270-924-2000 for more information.

Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley

The Tennessee Valley Authority says their decision to reduce water output from Kentucky Dam will increase the region’s river and lake levels. Kentucky Lake is expected to reach up to 368 feet, two feet short of the significant flooding level. Calloway County Emergency Management Director Bill Call says the reduced water output and today’s heavy rains mean additional flooding on the roads is likely. Call says residents living near the rivers and lakes need to be aware of the driving hazards.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is attempting to alleviate Ohio River flooding by cutting back outflow of the dams on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley through Friday. Their goal is to reach zero outflow. Barkley and Kentucky pool levels will begin to rise steadily before topping out above normal summer levels. The dams are expected to begin releasing water again Monday.

Safety Tips

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) and local health departments across the state are prepared to provide support to response efforts as needed. DPH also reminds Kentuckians that contact with flood waters should be avoided whenever possible, as they may contain contaminants that could pose health hazards. Homeowners whose homes sustained water damage are also urged to follow safety recommendations to limit mold damage and ensure proper food handling and storage. More detailed health and safety guidelines can be found at the Health Alerts website: http://healthalerts.ky.gov.

Should you encounter a downed power line, do not approach it, call your utility provider. Should you encounter water over a flooded roadway, “Stop – Turn Around – Don’t Drown!” It only takes six inches of moving water to sweep a person off their feet and two feet of rushing water to sweep away a full-size SUV.

Officials warn extreme caution around downed power lines. Homeowners are urged to be careful with generators to avoid backfeeding power down lines that may be being repaired. Do not run generators inside because of the danger of the fumes resulting from operation. When power is out at dangerous intersections, proceed with caution as if a 4-way stop.

Emergency officials encourage individuals to use NOAA Weather Alert Radios and stay tuned to local media for weather updates and flood information.

Weather safety tips and weather alerts by county can be found on the KYEM website at www.kyem.ky.gov.

Road Conditions

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet reports 240 total highway closures on 221 routes in 53 counties. For road closures and conditions, please visit www.511.ky.gov , or call 511.

The US Weather Service indicates over the next few days a “potential for catastrophic flash flooding” with rain amounts not seen in decades. This creates a number of driving hazards.  Expect flooding in areas that don’t normally flood.  It is important to move to higher ground before the roads you might have to use for that move are blocked by flash flooding.

The greatest potential for loss of life from flash flooding is on the roads. Kentucky Transportation Spokesman Keith Todd says best practice is to turn around, don’t drown. Todd urges area residents to avoid unnecessary travel.  Many of our counties are under flash flood warnings and watches.  Numerous highways, roads, and streets are flooded due to heavy rain over the last couple of days.

Road Closures / Water Over Road Reports: ‪

Ballard County: 

KY 286 closed near the 6 mm at Intersection KY 1345/Myers Road (washed out).

US 51/60 closed between Wickliffe and US 51 bridge at Cairo, IL

KY 473 MP – 19-23

KY 1105 – MP 5-7

KY 121 is closed due to high water near the Carlisle-Ballard County Line. Floodwaters have covered the roadway at several bridges along this 10.5 mile long section of KY 121 between US 62 in Carlisle County and KY 286 at Wickliffe in Ballard County. Water has been rising at approximately 1 inch per hour in this area. This closed section of KY 121 runs from mile point 7.228 in Carlisle County to mile point 8.356 in Ballard County. This includes bridges that cross Wilson Lick Creek Mayfield Creek, Stovall Creek, Shelton Creek, and several drainage ditches.

Caldwell County: 

KY 2066/Redding Boat Dock Road 0-1 mm

KY 1627 7-8 mm

KY 1592 – MP 2-3

Calloway County:

None

Carlisle County:

KY 1820 – MP 1-6

US 51 – MP 8-12.5, closed to passenger vehicle traffic.

Christian County:

KY 1338 – MP 3-4

KY 345 – MP 5-6, MP 8-9

Crittenden County:

KY 135 – MP 4.4-6

KY 120 – MP 16-17

KY 365 – MP 8-9

KY 1917 – MP 1.3-1.6

KY 132 (near Webster County line)

KY 91 (Ferry)

Daviess County:

US 60 – MP 0-1 Henderson Co. Line. MP 5-7

KY 298 – MP 0-1, MP 2-3

KY 762 – MP 0-2

KY 279 – MP 8-9, MP 9-13

KY 334 – MP 1-2

KY 500 – MP 0-1

KY 554 – MP 7-9

KY 960 – MP 0-2

KY 1554 – MP 2-5

KY 2127 – MP 3-6

Fulton County:

KY 94 is closed in Fulton County between the 13 and 22 mile marker due to water over the road at several locations.  KY 94 is flooded at several locations where is crosses Little Mud Creek, Blue Line Creek and Big Mud Creek between Cayce and Hickman.

KY 1354 – MP 0-1 (Dorena-Hickman Ferry Closed)

KY 2140 – MP 0-4

KY 1129 – MP 2-4

KY 1907 – MP 0-2

Graves County:

KY 131 – MP 14-14.4

KY 1241 (Bridge Out) – MP 0-1

KY 450 – MP 0-.6

KY 348 – MP 1-2

Henderson County:

Roads closed due to high water:

US 60 – MP 19-22, MP 0-3

KY 414 – MP 0-1

KY 136 – MP 0-10

KY 268 – MP 1-8

KY 811 – MP 0-6

KY 3522 – MP 0-1

Henry County, TN:

Four Roads closed in the county:

* Hill Rd at 2100 block due to sink hole

* Foundry Hill Rd due to utility poles

* Old McKenzie Hwy due to TVA Transmisson Tower leaning

* French Rd

Roads closed Wednesday due to flash flooding have been opened include Gum Springs Rd and Reynoldsburg Rd

Hickman County:

Water has dropped off US 51 in HICKMAN County between the 4-5 mile marker in the Bayou De Chien area. Floodwaters are no longer threatening this section of US 51 in HICKMAN County allowing it to remain open to full traffic flow at this time.

KY 239 – MP 0-3.8

KY 780 – MP 1-3

KY 123 – MP 14-16

Hopkins County:

US 62 is closed at the Hopkins-Muhlenberg County Line due to high water. This is at the Pond Creek Bridge at about the 22 mm

KY 293 – MP 2-3

KY 1034 – MP 0-1

KY 1220 – MP 0-3

Livingston County: 

KY 917 (Tucker Temple Road between KY 93 and KY 866 N or Iuka) – MP 4-9

KY 133 (Intersection with KY 137 in Berry’s Ferry area) MP 18-19

KY 137 – MP 0-20

KY 453 – MP 11-15

KY 1436 – MP 0-1

KY 70 – MP 0-13

KY 1433 – MP 4-5

US 60 – MP 11-12

KY 1608 – MP 2-3

KY 952 (between Depot Road and Hill Road)

Lyon County:

KY 1055 in LYON County is closed between the 1 and 2 mile marker due to high water.

KY 295/Lake Barkley Drive is closed in Lyon County between the 0 and 1 mile marker due to high water. This is the westernmost end of the KY 295 loop through Old Kuttawa near the west intersection with US 62/US 641. Residents of Old Kuttawa continue to have access via the east end of KY 295.

KY 93 is CLOSED in LYON Co. at mile point 10 due to damaged caused be additional slippage of a landslide at this site.

KY 1943 – MP 2-3

KY 1113 – MP 0-1

KY 819 – MP 2-3

Marshall County:

KY 1949 – MP 7-9

McCracken County: 

-KY 1954/Husbands Road  near the intersection with Geibe Road at about the 2-3 mm

-KY 131/Said Road at 0-2 mm just north of the McCracken-Graves Line

-KY 787/Bryant Ford Road at 0-2 mm near the Clarks River

-KY 305/Old Cairo Road at mm 5-6

-KY 1565 at mm 4-6

-KY 1420/Noble Road at 2-5 mm

-KY 1255 – MP 1-2

-KY 339 – MP 0-1

-KY 3075 – MP 0-1

-KY 450 (Oaks Road)

-KY 2411 – mm 0-1

-KY 284 (Old Benton Road)

McLean County:

KY 85 – MP 5-8

KY 256 – MP 5-9

KY 1155 –  MP 4-7

KY 2385 – MP 2-4

Montgomery County:

City of Clarksville Road Closures – April 28, 2011 – 9 a.m.

Ashbury

Shawnee

Saratoga

Meadow Brook

Spees Drive

Dunbar Cave Road at Dunbar Cave State Park

Tobacco Road between Jack Miller and Hadley

Freestone Drive

Thomas Street

Alfred Thun Road

Professional Park Blvd.

Front Street

Idaho Springs

Montgomery County Road Closures – 9 a.m.

Lock B South Bottoms – including Lock b Road South, Shelton Ferry Rd. and Southside Rd.

Hematite Rd.

Chapel Hill Rd. at Pinnacle Point

Port Royal Lane

Lock C Bottoms – including Lylewood Road, Kirkland Road and Levi Road

Chapel Hill Road – between McClure Road and Lock B Road South

Muhlenberg County:

Roads closed due to high water:

KY 175 – MP 24-25

KY 1379 – MP 0-6

KY 2590 – MP 0-3

US 62 is closed at the Hopkins-Muhlenberg County Line due to high water. This is at the Pond Creek Bridge at about the 22 mm

Trigg County:

KY 1891 is closed between the 0 and 1 mm due to high water.

KY 1585 – mm 4-5

KY 1507/Barefield Road  1-2 mm

KY 1253 – MP 2-3

KY 128 – MP 0-1

KY 525 – mm 3-4

Union County:

Roads closed due to high water:

KY 1508 – MP 3-6

KY 360 – MP 5-8, MP 11-13

KY 667 – MP 1-17

KY 668 – MP 0-2

KY 871 – MP 3-6

KY 1452 – MP 0-2

KY 1637 – MP 0-3

KY 923 – MP0-1

KY 130 – MP 15-17

KY 2918 – MP 0-1

KY 141 – MP 11-19

Webster County:

Roads closed due to high water:

KY 109 – MP 10-12

KY 120 – MP 0-1

KY 132 – MP 0-1, MP 3-4, MP 5-6

KY 143 – MP 1-2, MP 3-4, MP 6-7

KY 494 – MP 0-1

KY 1525 – MP 0-1

KY 2837 – MP 1-2

Road Condition Links:

Kentucky: http://511.ky.gov/kyhb/main.jsf or call 511
Kentucky Transportation on FacebookDistrict 1District 2.
Illinois: http://wrc.gettingaroundillinois.com/pages/wrc.htm
Tennessee: http://ww2.tdot.state.tn.us/tsw/smartmap.htm

Other Important links:

Weather safety tips and weather alerts by county can be found on the KYEM website atwww.kyem.ky.gov.

Latest Regional Weather Info: National Weather Service – Paducah
Our Regional Weather Page: http://www.wkms.org/weather.php

“Today I have once again seen the damage and destruction that a natural disaster can inflict on Kentucky families,” said Gov. Beshear.  “My administration has emergency management officials, members of the National Guard, employees from my office, as well as from a variety of cabinets, out in the field and staffing our Emergency Operations Center in order to ensure that all calls for assistance are met.”

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