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Weekend Rains Bring Flooding, Rescues in Kentucky Communities

Lisa Autry

Kentucky is under a state of emergency due to heavy weekend rainfall.  Some areas have recorded more than five inches of rain, prompting road closures, swift water rescues, mudslides, and power outages.

While five inches isn't record-setting for many places, it can still create hazards. Warren County Emergency Management Director Ronnie Pearson says local crews performed 12 rescues in 24 hours.

“Most were stranded motorists," Pearson told WKU Public Radio. "They had drove through standing water. Their vehicle stalled, and they had to be rescued from their vehicle back to dry land.”

Pearson implored drivers to find alternate routes and keep in mind that one foot of moving water can sweep away a vehicle.

Credit Mammoth Cave National Park
The Green River Ferry at Mammoth Cave National Park is partially under water due to flooding.

Mammoth Cave National Park in south-central Kentucky has closed the Green River Ferry due to high water, as well as some nearby roads and campgrounds.

More than a dozen cities and counties have declared a local state of emergency, and the Kentucky National Guard is assisting with high water emergencies.

Towns along the Ohio River can expect continued minor flooding over the next few days. Daviess County Emergency Management Director Andy Ball says the river reaches flood stage at 40 feet, and it’s forecast to crest on Saturday.

“We will be at 42.5, but based on the information we received, we don’t expect Smothers Park to be flooded," Ball said. "We’re mostly going to be dealing with bottomland and low-lying areas that are flooding.”

Smothers Park typically doesn’t flood until the river is four feet above flood stage. The downtown park on the Owensboro riverfront was under water after flooding in both in 2018 and 2019. 

Daviess County has one state highway partially closed. KY-298 is closed at the two to three mile marker. Portions of KY 812 and KY 136 are closed in neighboring Henderson County.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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