Preparing Cincy’s riverfront for the flood — and why you probably shouldn’t touch the water

Get ready for a lot of #floodphotos Thursday morning. Just don’t get get too close to it.

Cincy Parks prepares for flooding event

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Flood waters in Cincinnati are expected to rise to near record levels in the coming days due to recent rainfall and snow melt.

The river is expected to crest at 56 ft. Thursday before dawn in what the National Weather Service is calling a “moderate” flooding event.

That’s a far cry from the nigh-biblical flood of 2018, when river waters at The Banks breached Mehring Way and flooded the underground garages. But lower areas of The Banks were already flooded Tuesday.

Worry not — it’s something they’re prepared for, according to Cincinnati Parks Director Kara Kish.

The parks department activated their flood plan when the forecast said the river would crest at 54 ft. Now Kish says waters will approach the Smale Park playgrounds.

But Smale was built to handle flooding.

“A lot of things that were built in this park were built to withstand the flood,” Kish said. “But that doesn’t mean we won’t have some work to do.”

To prep, they’ve shut off electricity to the lights, removed parts of the playground that might float away and tapped off water fountains that could be contaminated by the river water.

The real work begins when the water recedes.

“We know that there will be mud in the park,” Kish said. “We’ll have to clean off all the sidewalks, and we’ll need to assess if there is anything that needs to be fixed.”

They will also be sanitizing the playgrounds and anything someone would touch, because the flood waters might contain sewage water.

The parks department says a big part of their planning is warning people of the dangers of getting too close to the flood waters — or dipping their toes in.

“The land drops off pretty quickly and it becomes deep very quickly, and also there is an extremely strong current,” Kish warned.

After the flood waters leave, the cleanup up process will begin.

They don’t know how long that will take. It depends on the amount of mud and damage the water creates.

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