Another Significant Increase in Ohio River Crest Forecast Leads to Installation of Additional Floodgates on Monday

Date of release:  February 22, 2019

Note: The river stage for the Ohio River at Paducah at 2 p.m. today is 50.91 feet.

Photo:  Image from the April 2011 flood event showing the installation of the HESCO flood barriers at the Convention Center

City of Paducah crews will mobilize early Monday, February 25 to install the next set of floodgates as required to protect the community.  This afternoon, the National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service issued an update to the crest forecast for the Ohio River at Paducah increasing the crest to 53.5 feet on Saturday, March 2.  The previous forecast had the Ohio River cresting this Sunday, February 24 at 51.5 feet.

City Engineer-Public Works Director Rick Murphy says, “I am laser-focused on the Ohio River and the floodwall.  The installation of the gates at ten more locations on Monday will provide protection up to a river stage of 55 feet.  If we see another crest increase next week, then we will be ready to install the final set of floodgates.  I want the community to know that we are staying ahead of Mother Nature and making all of the necessary safety preparations.”

Businesses affected by the gate closures are being notified so that they can take appropriate measures.

2011 installation of flood barriersRegarding the Paducah-McCracken County Convention Center complex, the floodgate at 4th Street and Park Avenue will remain open this Saturday, February 23 to allow for Convention Center events scheduled for that day to occur.  However, on Sunday, February 24, the City has lined up Jim Smith Contracting to install the HESCO flood barriers around the Convention Center to protect it from the rising river.  These are the same barriers used in the past to protect the facilities.  On Monday, the floodgates that provide access to the Convention Centers will be closed. 

As a reminder, pedestrian and vehicle traffic are not allowed on or near the floodwall and floodgates. 

For safety, do not drive around barricades.  Being curious about the rising river level is understandable; however, the City asks that the public remain on the interior of the floodwall and stay away from the dangers associated with a rising river.  The Paducah Police Department has increased its patrols around the floodwall.

The City’s 12 pump stations are in operation due to the river level. The first pump station began operating when the river reached 27.5 feet.  The floodgates were last installed in February 2018.

On February 18, the City of Paducah declared a State of Emergency. This action submitted to the State will help the city receive reimbursement for costs associated with the floodgate installation and related actions.  Costs that may be reimbursed include overtime for personnel, equipment rental, and the hiring of contractors.  On February 19, city crews installed floodgates at nine locations in the downtown area.  An additional four locations were closed February 21.