Ohio River at Highest Level in 18 Years

The Ohio River at Cincinnati reached 57.72 feet on Sunday 15 March 2015, the highest level since March 1997 when it stood at 64.7 feet.

According to NWS predictions, the river is likely remain at moderate flood stage (above 56 feet) until Monday evening and at minor flood stage (above 52 feet) until late Thursday 19 March 2015.

The river has exceeded minor flood stage 4 times since 2000, and reached 55.9 feet in March 2011. The highest ever level was around 80 feet during the Ohio River floods of 1937.

ohio river levels cincinnati
Ohio River Levels at Cincinnati. Image: NOAA

Snow melt and heavy rain has caused river levels to rise throughout the Ohio Valley. Levels of the Mississippi River are also expected to rise over the next few days.

Flooding in Southern Ohio and Northern Kentucky

Flooding has affected areas in parts of Greater Cincinnati, elsewhere in southern Ohio, and also parts of Northern Kentucky. One man has been reported as missing in northern Kentucky after he was swept away by flood waters near his home in Transylvania Beach, Louisville, on Saturday 14 March. Emergency services are continuing the search for the missing man.

Several houses have been reported as flooded in New Richmond, a small town on the banks of the Ohio. Several roads in Boone County, Kentucky, have been closed after flooding.

Minimal Flooding in Cincinnati – A Success for Earlier Flood Mitigation Projects

Despite the Ohio River reaching major flood stage in the city, flooding appears to have been kept to a minimum. Local news site Cincinnati.com put this down to a number of factors:

An increased awareness of the dangers as well as more precautions and physical infrastructure in place to deal with such emergencies.

Investment in flood walls, levees, dams and reservoirs in southwest Ohio that keep tributaries (including the Great Miami River and The Mill Creek ) from adding to the flood.

Renovated flood walls in Covington and Newport after the 1997 floods.

Flood wall added to The Fort Washington Way during reconstruction

Flood risk homes no longer inhabited. Many homes in flood zones in Fairfield were purchased by FEMA in 2003.

Ohio River Floods, 2015. Photo credit: 5chw4r7z
Ohio River Floods, 2015. Photo credit: 5chw4r7z