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Mayor Greg Fischer Newsroom

Louisville Metro Prepares For Potential Flooding -Community better protected compared to 1997 flood

Monday January 10, 2005

Mayor Jerry Abramson today detailed Metro Government’s preparations for potential flooding due to forecasted heavy rains this week, excessive ground saturation and rising Ohio River levels.
“When it became clear some flooding was likely, we brought our teams together last week to coordinate our response efforts,” Abramson said. “With our enhanced flood-protection system in place, we are standing at the ready and are prepared.”

With the Ohio River projected to crest at nearly 29 feet Wednesday – six feet above the flood stage and the highest level since the 1997 flood – the mayor met last week with officials from the Metropolitan Sewer District, Louisville Metro Public Works and Louisville Metro Emergency Management Agency.

In flooding situations, the Louisville Metro Public Works Department enacts an street-closure system based on river elevations. 

Additionally, the Emergency Management Agency has identified the viaducts and underpasses that most frequently flood with water during periods of heavy rain. Crews are placing barricades near those locations today, so that in the case of flooding they can quickly be moved into place.

The viaducts include:
7th St. and Davies
600 West Hill Street
Floyd & Hill streets
3rd St. and
Eastern Parkway Six Mile and Breckenridge lanes

“No one should attempt to drive over roads covered with water, especially at an underpass or viaduct,” Abramson said.

The mayor encouraged residents that see a flooded underpass that is not barricaded to call MetroCall at 311.
Community better protected than in 1997

Abramson said many enhancements to drainage and the flood-protection system mean Louisville area is better protected against flooding than eight years ago, when the Ohio River crested at 38.7 feet on the upper gauge at McAlpine Dam.
“Our Project DRI has made improvements in targeted neighborhoods with specific drainage problems, and MSD has made significant investments in the flood-protection system,” Abramson said.

The mayor cited two new water-storage basins MSD added since 1997 to help protect the Pond Creek area near I-65 and Outer Loop. MSD built the 80-acre, 24-foot deep Melco basin behind the Ford Plant, and converted the Vulcan Rock Quarry into a flood-storage basin that holds hundreds of millions of gallons of water.

In addition, MSD has relocated 58 families from flood-prone areas.

Louisville Metro also has expanded its swift-water rescue fleet, with the addition of a new Zodiac boat, designed specifically for flood-rescue situations. The boat is deployed from the centrally located Buechel Fire Department, one of five similar boats operated by Louisville Metro suburban fire departments.
“We committed the funding in last year’s budget to add this boat to our fleet to add to our neighborhood flood-rescue capabilities,” Abramson said.