Rain is in the forecast. So what's next for the Ohio River?

People gawk at Ohio River flooding
Published: Feb. 20, 2018 at 12:28 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 21, 2018 at 12:22 AM EST
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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Ohio River has crested in Cincinnati but should remain above flood stage into the weekend.

The river crested at 55.38 feet on Tuesday around 9:45 p.m. What does that look like exactly? One example would be the water-covered Riverside Drive in Covington.

In Adams County, many residents in the small town of Wrightsville were dealing with homes caught up in the backwater. Upriver at places like Meldahl and Maysville, the river is expected to crest at about 51 feet early Friday morning.

At stages near 56 feet, widespread backwater flooding along creeks and streams occurs. Backwater flooding also impacts places like Anderson Township, flooding numerous roads and basements.

Earlier Tuesday, water swallowed Coney Island and Riverbend Music Center. Kellogg Avenue and a few surrounding roads were shut down with no timetable to reopen. By Tuesday night, many in Cincinnati had gathered at Smale Riverfront Park to capture pictures and video of the river.

VIDEO: Aerial look at Ohio River floodwaters

The water will fall slowly Wednesday before rising to a secondary, lower crest Friday around 1 a.m. The river is expected to fall to flood stage Sunday night into Monday.

A normal river level is about 45 feet.

What does this mean for the next two weeks? The Ohio River is very sensitive to precipitation because of very wet soils (it is "primed" to flood). The most likely result is a gradual fall and an occasional minor rise.

FOX19 NOW meteorologists cannot rule out enough rain by the first week of March for another crest above flood stage, though it is not likely. Models have as much as 4 inches falling in the next days.

What's more likely than new Ohio River problems? Short-term, small stream and urban flooding with individual rain events.

Authorities are urging drivers to stay away from flooded areas.

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