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Flood Recovery Updates in 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 2:00 AM Sunday- Update to McCracken Co

UPDATE 6:00 PM Saturday - Update to Marshall Co, Update to Alexander Co (CAIRO ORDERS MANDATORY EVACUATION), Update to Road Closures

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.

The National Weather Service has revised down flooding predictions on the Ohio River. As of Thursday, the Ohio River will crest  at 52 feet on May 1 in Paducah. This is three feet lower than projected Wednesday. The river at Cairo is  projected to reach 60.5 feet by May 1, a record high level.  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.

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 – April 29 Update

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

The Kentucky National Guard currently has approximately 128 Guardsmen equipped with tactical vehicles providing civic support to Western Kentucky in response to the flooding along the Ohio River. These Soldiers continue to conduct water barrier and sandbagging operations in Ballard and Livingston Counties as well as law enforcement support in Henderson, Fulton and McCracken Counties.

Current Operations are as follows:

Ongoing Missions – All ground missions are being manned by elements of the 75th Troop Command. The 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade is providing aviation support. Ground Soldiers are deployed to Ballard, Livingston, Fulton, Henderson and McCracken Counties as follows:

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

b. Henderson County – Fifteen Soldiers 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.

c. Fulton County – Twelve Soldiers are conducting roving patrols with humvees in support of local law enforcement to assist in controlling access to flooded roadways leading to the levee system.

d. McCracken County – Eight Soldiers are conducting roving patrols with humvees in support of the McCracken County Sheriff to deter looting and to report suspicious activity to local law enforcement agencies.

e. Fourteen Soldiers 103rd Chemical Battalion have deployed to Owensboro with cargo trucks in order to provide logistics support and transportation support.

f. Livingston County – MISSION COMPLETE. The twenty-four Soldiers from 2113th TC have completed their mission of assisting in the construction of water barriers to protect the city of Smithland. They conducted around the clock operations in three 8-hour shifts.

g. Daviess County- MISSION COMPLETE. The thirty Soldiers from the 206th Engineer Battalion and a sandbagging machine from the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center completed sand bagging operations to protect a KEWS facility.

Next 24 hours:

1. Operations in Ballard, Henderson, Fulton and McCracken Counties are expected to continue at or near current levels for the next several days.

2. US Army Corps of Engineers has requested aviation support to engineers assessing the status of USACE dams on 29 Apr 11. 63d Theatre Aviation Brigade has been tasked this mission.

3. The Commonwealth Emergency Operation Center is staffed at Level 3 0600-2400. The KYNG Joint Operations Center is staffed at Level 2, with augmented staffing and extended hours based on mission requirements. The EOC provides overnight phone coverage and response.

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 29 Update

A federal judge in Missouri today granted a request from Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway to intervene in a federal lawsuit to help protect parts of Western Kentucky from potentially catastrophic flooding.

In Friday’s ruling, United States District Judge Stephen Limbaugh Jr. also denied a request by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster for a temporary restraining order to stop the Army Corps of Engineers from detonating a levee on the Mississippi River if flood waters reach 60 feet on the river gage at Cairo, Ill. “I appreciate Judge Limbaugh’s careful consideration of this matter,” General Conway said. “I intervened in this case to protect residents in Fulton County and other areas of Western Kentucky whose lives could be jeopardized by potentially catastrophic flooding.”

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.

On Tuesday, April 26, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster filed a motion in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri to stop the Army Corps from detonating the levee because he said it would flood 100 homes.

The Corps estimates that if the levees are not detonated when the river reaches 60 feet it could cause more than $32 million of damage in Fulton County alone. Additionally, officials estimate that 3.9 feet of water will flow over the top of the floodwall in Hickman – endangering lives and property.

Fulton County Attorney Rick Major has been assisting the Office of the Attorney General with the case.

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

Beshear Requests Aid for Farm Families

Gov. Steve Beshear Friday requested on behalf of Kentucky’s farm families a disaster declaration from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, as a result of severe storms and flooding. “Reports indicate that Kentucky farmers have significant losses of crops and infrastructure, and the conditions have critically impacted spring plantings.” said Gov. Beshear. “The severe storms and flooding have significantly impacted Kentucky’s farms and assistance from the USDA is critical and necessary to offset resulting income losses.”

The following request is due to severe storms and flooding conditions beginning the week of April 17 for the following counties: Ballard, Graves, Marion, Breckinridge, Hancock, Marshall, Caldwell, Henderson, McCracken, Carlisle, McLean, Crittenden, Hopkins, Muhlenberg, Daviess, Livingston, Union, Fulton, Lyon, Webster

The Governor’s written request is the necessary first step to initiate the process for a Secretarial Disaster Designation. This designation is necessary for several USDA disaster assistance programs to become available to farmers across the Commonwealth.

In addition, Gov. Steve Beshear today directed the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to temporarily suspend certain regulatory restrictions on motor carriers and utility vehicles engaged in Kentucky’s flood relief effort. At the Governor’s direction, Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock Friday issued an order temporarily lifting some restrictions on commercial vehicles delivering food, water, medicine and other critical supplies. The order also applies to vehicles engaged in restoration of public utilities, including waste disposal, and debris removal. This order is effective until May 15.

From the Office of the Governor, issued April 28:

Governor Steve Beshear traveled Thursday 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.

Alexander County, IL – Cairo

From WPSD – Cairo, Illinois Mayor Judson Childs tells WPSD Local 6 that evacuations are now considered mandatory for the city. Mayor Childs is asking all citizens to leave the city by midnight Saturday night. The mayor stresses there is currently no break in the levee and there are no current problems with the earthen levees. The evacuation is in response to predicted rain and sand boils throughout the town. The city asks that no one panic and to please exit the city in a timely manner by midnight on April 30, 2011.

A federal judge has ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers can destroy a levee in Southeast Missouri. State Attorney General Chris Koster filed a lawsuit against the Corps earlier this week to block the levee detonation. But Federal Judge Steven Limbaugh decided in favor of the Corps’ authority. The levee was designed as an “emergency button” that can be used in times of extremely high river levels. Flood levels are reaching 60 feet at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio at Cairo, Illinois. Judson Childs is Cairo’s mayor. “There have been lives at stake, and I can say I think the citizens of Cairo will be very proud that he made that decision. It was just the right thing to do.” Childs has twice issued voluntary evacuations this week. The breach will flood 130,000 acres of farmland. An estimated 200 people live in the affected area. The Missouri Attorney General’s office has hinted that it may seek an appeal.

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.

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

Emergency Manager Jody Brown says volunteers can come fill bags at the Ballard County Career and Technical Center. Additional rain is forecast this weekend. The Ohio and Mississippi rivers are set to crest early next week. To help, call Ballard County Emergency Services at 270-665-5083.

Shelter at Margaret Hank Memorial Church in McCracken County.

Emergency Manager Michael Clarke says several families have 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.

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.

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.

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.

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. Judge Gallagher and emergency officials are urging residents living in low lying areas to make plans now to evacuate if conditions get worse.

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.

To help with 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. 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.  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.

Marshall County

Marshall County residents in need of filled sandbags may pick those up at 160 Homer Lucas Lane, Draffenville (located near Mike Miller Park) Sunday beginning 7 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Sandbags will be available at Mike Miller Park, tonight 4/30  up to 10 pm, first drive to the right as you enter the park. Officials may extend hours of operation is demand requires. Citizens are strongly encouraged to prepare now if they have not already done so.  Other tips include:  place important documents such as insurance policies, mortgage, and financial statements in a container and place on top of fridge, raise furniture up off the floor. Officials continue to monitor the situation and are standing by should evacuation assistance become necessary.

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.

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.

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


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

With the increase in the forecasted crest for the Ohio River at Paducah from the National Weather Service River Forecast Center, the City of Paducah is working to contact property owners who could be affected by the rise of Perkins Creek. Perkins Creek is on the west side of Paducah outside the area protected by the floodwall. The creek will rise in conjunction with the rise in the Ohio River stage.

The forecast is for the Ohio River at Paducah to crest at 54 feet on Wednesday, May 4. This crest is one foot higher that what has been forecasted for the past few days. As of 8:00 p.m. today, the Ohio River at Paducah is at 50.94 feet which is nearly a foot higher since Friday afternoon.

Engineering-Public Works staff is contacting approximately 24 property owners who have parcels in the area north of U.S. 60 (Park Avenue), west of Noble Park, and east of Interstate-24. To assist those property owners, the City has started a sandbagging effort. Engineering-Public Works staff and Fire Department personnel are building sandbags in the parking lot of Surplus Sales located at 3500 Park Avenue. Crews will start building sandbags this evening and work into the early morning hours. Property owners contacted by the Engineering-Public Works Department can pick up and haul sandbags to their facilities starting at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 1. If a property owner in this area has questions, please call the Engineering-Public Works Department at 444-8511.

City Engineer-Public Works Director Rick Murphy wants businesses and residents near Cross Creek, Crooked Creek, Perkins Creek, and Island Creek to be aware of the potential for flash flooding. The Paducah area is expecting to receive several rounds of heavy rain and thunderstorms through Monday which could cause flash flooding. Residents and businesses need to be prepared with a flood evacuation plan.

If you are experiencing a flooding problem and need assistance, please contact the McCracken County Office of Emergency Management at 270-448-1500.

Below is some information in response to questions about river stages for the Ohio River at Paducah:

What happens when the Ohio River at Paducah reaches a flood stage of 39 feet? At 39 feet, minor flooding occurs outside the City limits. The minor flooding affects mainly bottomland. At 43 feet, moderate flooding occurs. When the flood stage reaches 52 feet, major flooding occurs.

What would the stage have to be in Paducah for the Ohio River to flow over the floodwall that protects the City? This would be a catastrophic event. The floodwall protects Paducah up to a stage of 64 feet.

What was the highest stage on record for the Ohio River at Paducah? The highest stage recorded in Paducah was 60.6 feet during the 1937 flood. The Paducah floodwall was built in response to the flood between 1939 and 1949.

What are the top five historical crests on record for the Ohio River at Paducah?
1) 60.6 feet (1937)
2) 54.3 feet (1913)
3) 54.3 feet (1884)
4) 53.3 feet (1950)
5) 52.0 feet (1867)

What exactly is a river stage? A river stage is the height of the surface of a river above a locally defined elevation point or datum. The datum could be mean sea level, the normal height of the river, or an arbitrarily chosen point. For example, for the lower part of the Mississippi River, the reference level is sea level (0 feet). Flood stage in New Orleans is 17 feet. However, many other rivers don’t use sea level or elevation as a reference. For the Ohio River at Paducah, the reference datum is 50 feet which is an arbitrarily chosen point not related to sea level or Paducah’s elevation. Paducah is 338 to 340 feet above sea level in much of the downtown area. The reference point of 50 feet lines up with the base of the floodwall in downtown. When the river stage reaches 50, Paducah will already have its many of its floodgates in place. Water will be lapping at the bottom of the floodgate located at the foot of Broadway.

Boaters and Fishermen: For safety concerns, it is recommended that boaters and fishermen stay off the Ohio River.

Greenway Trail: Even though the weather has been fairly dry for a couple of days, the Greenway Trail remains closed until further notice. Parks Services Director Mark Thompson says there are elevated water levels along the trail since the trail runs adjacent to Perkins Creek. Also, the recent heavy rains caused portions of the trail to be washed out. Once the water recedes, crews will bring additional dense graded aggregate to rebuild the trail.

In the event assistance is needed, please contact the McCracken County Office of Emergency Management at 270-448-1500. Red Cross has established an emergency shelter at Margaret Hank Cumberland Presbyterian Church located at 1526 Park Avenue, Paducah.

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.

Floodwall finished in Paducah, Photo by Kempton Baldridge

Photos: The labor-intensive process to install the City of Paducah floodgates is captured in a photo gallery on the City’s website at 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 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 1:00 PM, Saturday April 30th, we estimate less than 40 customers remain without power. Most of these are individual cases. We have crews designated to three different areas of town; North, South and St. Bethlehem. We expect to have these customers back in service today, unless they have damage to their property that has not been repaired.

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.

Land Between the Lakes

Tennessee Valley Authority and the Corps of Engineers are predicting unprecedented lake levels for Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake rapidly rising to 372 feet by May 4 (13 feet over summer pool) and will be held at this level for a couple of days. The current lake levels are 367.4 feet and are predicted to rise to 370.7 feet by Sunday, May 1. These lake levels have caused flooding along all of Land Between The Lakes (LBL) shoreline. As of today, LBL staff closed all boat ramps, and lakeside campsites, trails, and roads. All developed campgrounds will be closed by Sunday, May 1. These areas will be barricaded and closed for safety of all visitors. Citations will be issued to anyone found beyond barricaded areas. Star Camp will be temporarily open for camping.

Do to flooded roads there may temporarily not be access to cemeteries. Wranglers Campground remains closed until further notice due to this week’s storm damage. Turkey Bay Off-Highway Vehicle Area and Trails is closed due to saturated soil conditions and current flooding.

Open LBL day-use facilities include North Welcome Station, Nature Station via Silver Trail Road, Elk & Bison Prairie, Golden Pond Visitor Center and Planetarium, Golden Pond Target Range, The Homeplace, South Bison Range, and South Welcome Station. Activities such as hunting, picnicking, and hiking will be available in limited areas; however, caution should be used due to saturated soil conditions and weather conditions.

Visitors are encouraged to check the Alerts & Notices page at www.lbl.org for current information, closure lists, and details before coming to LBL, due to the recent storm damage and continued flooding.

Use caution on all roads in LBL due to flooding and overly saturated soil conditions. LBL staff asks visitors to 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.

Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley

Due to rising water on Kentucky Lake power has to be turned off going out to the US 68/KY 80 Eggners Ferry Bridge at Aurora on the Marshall-Trigg County Line. This will shut down navigation lights on the. Bridge. The US Coast Guard has sent out a bulletin alerting tow boats to this outage.

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

For detailed 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 4 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: 

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has restricted EASTBOUND traffic to one lane on the Western Kentucky Parkway near the 16 mile marker in CALDWELL County due to a landslide that has spilled into the shoulder area. Motorists should be alert for slowing and merging traffic as they approach the 16 mile marker eastbound. All eastbound traffic is being moved to the left-hand or passing lane to allow removal of material along the shoulder and right of way. There is a potential for some additional land slippage in this area, so extra caution is required. Motorists should be especially alert for equipment and highway maintenance personnel working in this area. There is also an ongoing work zone on the WK eastbound near the 19 mile marker for work at the site of an earlier landslide. These work zones are expected to remain in place for several weeks as crews remove debris and make appropriate repairs.

KY 2066/Redding Boat Dock Road 0-1 mm

KY 1627 7-8 mm

KY 1592 – MP 2-3

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:

US 60 is closed due to high water at the Crittenden-Union County Line. This is just west of the Tradewater River Bridge between Marion and Sullivan.

US 641 from the south will be the only major highway access into Crittenden County. The closure of US 60 will also limit highway access into southern Union 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:

US 51 in HICKMAN County between the 4-5 mile marker in the Bayou De Chien area.

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 135 – MP 11.5 – 13.6

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 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:

Due to rising water on Kentucky Lake power has to be turned off going out to the US 68/KY 80 Eggners Ferry Bridge at Aurora on the Marshall-Trigg County Line. This will shut down navigation lights on the. Bridge. The US Coast Guard has sent out a bulletin alerting tow boats to this outage.

KY 1949 – MP 7-9

KY 1462 – MP 0-1

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:

Due to rising water on Kentucky Lake power has to be turned off going out to the US 68/KY 80 Eggners Ferry Bridge at Aurora on the Marshall-Trigg County Line. This will shut down navigation lights on the. Bridge. The US Coast Guard has sent out a bulletin alerting tow boats to this outage.

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:

US 60 is closed due to high water at the Crittenden-Union County Line. This is just west of  the Tradewater River Bridge between Marion and Sullivan. US 641 from the south will be the only major highway access into Crittenden County.

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

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