City Closely Watching River Stage Forecast for the Ohio River

Date of release:  February 12, 2019

The City of Paducah is closely watching each forecast issued by the National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service regarding the river stages for the Ohio River at Paducah.  As of the latest forecast issued this morning, the Ohio River will crest Wednesday, February 20 at 47.5 feet. (Note: The river stage today at 1 p.m. is 42.53 feet.)

City Engineer-Public Works Director Rick Murphy says, “We are closely watching each forecast that is issued.  We are on high alert, but at this time, a forecast of 47.5 feet does not require the floodgates to be installed.  A river stage forecast showing the Ohio River rising to 49 feet or higher would require the City to move into action and begin the preparations for gate installation.”

Murphy says if there is a need to install the floodgates, City crews first would clear the sill (bottom) of each gate opening and mobilize the heavy equipment needed to install each gate.  Crews then would be assigned to 24 floodwall locations for closure.  Once the equipment is mobilized and crews complete the preparation, the gate installation process for 24 locations would take approximately 12 hours. 

Most of the City’s pump stations already are in operation due to the river level. The first pump station began operating when the river was at 27.5 feet.

The floodgates were last installed in February 2018.

FAQ—What is the Ohio River stage that would cause water to flow down Broadway if the City didn’t have a floodwall and a floodgate at that location? The answer is 50 feet. When the Ohio River stage is at 50 feet, water would begin to flow through the floodwall opening at the foot of Broadway if no floodgate was installed. Please note that the current forecast has the river cresting at 47.5 feet which does not require the floodgate to be installed. 

To view the National Weather Service forecast page for the Ohio River at Paducah, visit