Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ohio River Rising Back for an Encore

Rising river levels aren't threatening the lodging facilities in Hardin County, but the extended closing of the ferry at Cave-in-Rock is hurting local restaurants who rely on Kentucky customers unable to make it.

I did a book run to Hardin County on March 1, and rising waters were just getting to the stage that the ferry was planning to close in a couple of days. After three weeks or so the waters receded and the ferry reopened. Now another round of flooding closed it again Sunday.

By Tuesday before the storms hit, the water was already up to the alley behind the buildings along Main Street. Water Street which is the parking area along the river is under water.

Down at Elizabethtown, the water's not a problem for the Rose Hotel and the River Rose Inn across the street. It is a problem for the floating E'town River Restaurant. The eatery is supposed to be in the water, but not the parking lot and Front Street. It normally opens for the season in April.

Upstream at Shawneetown, the National Weather Service is reporting flood waters at 42.68 feet this morning at 1 a.m. not quite reaching the Moderate Flood Stage level of 43 feet. Major Flood Stage is 53 feet there. They only forecast out one week. The water is expected to continue rising with a projection of 47 feet next Thursday. That's still seven feet below the 1997 flood and well below the 1937 levels of 65.64 feet.

Downstream, at Golconda the National Weather Service is forecasting rising waters throughout the next seven days. Flood stage is 40 feet and the river was 44.57 feet this morning at 1 a.m. It's projected to be at 47.9 feet in a week. Moderate Flood Stage is at 50 feet.

The river is at 45.1 feet at Paducah, just two feet over the start of Moderate Flood Stage. Major stage doesn't start until the water is at 52 feet which was the winter crest back in 1867, not that anyone remembers that one. The record flood of 1937 was 60.60 feet at Paducah.

It's a bigger issue at Cairo. It's supposed to be 51.8 feet at Cairo by Monday morning, just a little over a foot away from what they describe as Major Flood Stage. That's five feet below the March 1997 high water mark and just under 8 feet below the 1937 flood.

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