Rising Ohio River threatens homes, police warn drivers

Officials keeping a watchful eye on rising waters

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Parts of the Tri-State are bracing for the worst with the Ohio River now expected to rise to near-record flooding levels this week.

A stalled frontal boundary will result in a prolonged period of rain with a storm total of 2 to 3 inches Monday through Tuesday afternoon.

The latest forecast from the National Weather Service in Wilmington now calls for the Ohio River to rise to “moderate” flooding stage of 56.3 feet Tuesday into Wednesday morning. The river will slowly fall, but remain above flood stage into Friday morning.

A Flood Watch is up through Tuesday afternoon.

This is expected to be the worst the area has seen since the river swelled to just a few feet more - 60.53 feet in February 2018. Major chunks of southwestern Ohio including Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and southeastern Indiana were under water. It was the highest the river reached since the floods of 1997.

The river at moderate flood stage causes significant flooding to occur in the eastern Cincinnati community of California, according to the weather service.

Backwater flooding along the Little Miami River affects basements and some first-level flooding of businesses and homes. Low-lying areas from California to Newtown in eastern Hamilton County also experience this.

The east end will see flooding of some streets, basements of homes and businesses, as well as low-lying areas near New Richmond in Clermont County.

State Route 8 in Kentucky is flooded in low areas, as well as State Route 56 in Indiana and Route 52 in Ohio, according to the weather service.

Widespread backwater flooding affects Anderson Township, flooding numerous roads and basements. Locations most affected include low-lying areas near New Richmond, the east end, California and Anderson and Pierce townships.

High water shut down Kellogg Avenue in three areas of Anderson Township over the weekend. The road remains closed Monday morning, according to Hamilton County dispatchers, in the following areas:

  • Sutton Avenue to Belterra Park
  • At Four Mile Road
  • At Eight Mile Road

People in the watch area, especially those living in areas prone to flooding, should be prepared to take action should flooding develop.

Cincinnati police issued a reminder overnight for drivers.

Police are cautioning that you can’t be sure of the depth of the water or the condition of the road beneath it because it may be broken up or washed away.

“Worst case, there may be no road left under the water,” police wrote in a post on the department’s Facebook page. "Just 6 inches of standing water – sometimes less – can be enough to cause engine stalling. Your engine can suffer serious and expensive damage if it ingests water. And you’ll be stranded.

"In approximately 1 foot of water, a typical car can begin to float and, as traction is lost, so is steering control.If the water is moving, your vehicle could literally float away. At (2) feet of water, even larger vehicles such as pickup trucks and SUVs are in danger of floating away.

“Never try driving through fast-moving water, such as an overflowing river, as your vehicle could be swept away. As a rule of thumb, don’t drive into water that’s too deep to see the painted markings on the road.”

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