Prepare for "catastrophic" flooding


Chief Meteorologist - Jennifer Rukavina
Reporter - Todd Faulkner

PADUCAH — Experts at the National Weather Service say people in portions of the Local 6 area need to prepare for "catastrophic" flooding.

The first focus is flash flooding that will continue to impact even those who do not live in the normally flood prone areas. Ditches, creeks, and streams are already at bank full and with long periods of rain on the way concerns include loss of property and life.

"We are very concerned about the potential for loss of life with this event, especially late (Sunday) and beyond," Rick Shanklin with the Paducah National Weather Service said. "These high rainfall totals have set the stage for potentially catastrophic flooding given our forecast for more thunderstorms tonight through at least Wednesday."

The second impact of all this rain is possible record breaking flooding on the Ohio River. Normally, the Mississippi River can take on some of the flood waters of the Ohio but with already very high waters on the Mississippi no relief means we may very well change the course of the Ohio River's history.

"The lower Ohio River will crest above the 1997 levels and current forecasted crests will near or in some cases exceed the flood of record," Mary Lamm with the Paducah National Weather Service said. "Communities need to prepare now for what could be catastrophic flooding."

The Ohio River from Owensboro, Ky. to Cairo, Ill. is at risk for this record flooding and there are contingency plans being discussed at the federal level at this time in the event that this forecast is changed to higher levels. The major focus is knowing where higher ground is and you leave if you are asked to evacuate.

In fact, Livingston County Emergency Management is now asking all residents living near the the Ohio River to evacuate their homes by 10a.m., Wednesday.