As Ohio River Crests, EMA Officials Say Flooding Danger Remains, Costs Piling Up

Feb 28, 2019

Credit Wikimedia Commons

  Emergency Management officials in west Kentucky and southern Illinois along the Ohio River say severe flooding is finally under control. But the National Weather Service says water levels from Paducah to Cairo, Illinois, will remain at a “major” flood stage for at least another week.


EMA officials said that might close roads down and cut people off in low-lying, rural areas. Livingston County EMA Director Brent Stringer said even though the worst of flooding is past, people should reach out if they need any help.


"You’ve got to make sure you can sustain yourself for that period of time, and anybody out there that feels like they can’t and get scared, or need help, don’t hesitate to call,” Stringer said. “We’ll come get you. We’ll take you out.”


Stringer said the emergency costs of things like sandbags and overtime for employees won’t be known for months. But he estimates the costs will probably be at least $250,000 dollars.


Stringer said the sandbag wall built over the past week will remain up through the spring to protect against more floods in the upcoming months.


Alexander County Emergency Management Director Mike Turner has been working with local officials in Cairo, Illinois, to fortify the levee protecting the city. Turner said they had to bring in twelve temporary pumps from the state and the United States Army Corps of Engineers to keep the water at bay.


“The [county] drainage district is looking at probably the $75,000 range for what it’s going to cost to run these pumps,” Turner said. “Which may not seem like a big deal, but that’s two-and-a-half years worth of taxes that we bring in.”


Turner said that’s on top of costs to repair the levee system and washed out roads in Alexander County. See updates on Ohio River water levels here.