nsucurrent.com March 17, 2018

Emergency management officials give update on extensive flooding

01 March 2018, 08:04 | Colleen Roy

NWS Charleston Rainfall amounts across West Virginia from Saturday to Sunday

NWS Charleston Rainfall amounts across West Virginia from Saturday to Sunday

The Illinois River near Tahlequah has reached major flood stage as of Sunday morning and is now forecasted to crest at a height near 19.5 feet by Sunday afternoon.

The death toll rose to at least five people as of Sunday.

As per weathermen, floodwaters on the Ohio River in Louisville and Cincinnati are at their highest level in about 20 years. The river is to fall below flood stage around 7 a.m. Wednesday. Though the Ohio River was still lapping above the second level of the Steubenville Marina, the crest on Monday afternoon is expected to be below the 36-foot flood stage at Steubenville, according to the National Weather Service.

Unusually severe winter flooding is under way in the United States. It would be the highest recordings since 1997, when the river reached 64.7 feet.

Meteorologist Kristen Cassady says while no rain is forecast until mid-week, tributaries feeding the OH will likely keep the river above flood stage throughout the week.

The declaration made Saturday afternoon allows for the National Guard to be activated if needed. The city has since put up further gates and topped off gates in such spots as Madison Street.

"It is slowly going down", she said, adding that although no heavy rain is expected, even light rain would have an impact on the swollen river.

Vargo said damage assessment teams from West Virginia EMA are expected to visit homes in the Short Creek and North Fork areas this week. He claimed that had the city not acted, residents would possibly be complaining Portsmouth officials had ignored the situation.

"Prepare for the worst, hope for the best", he said. "But we don't know if it's really helping because water is still coming in through the foundation". That city closed several roads because of flooding, including USA 52.

US 52 was reopened the next day, and business resumed as usual by the weekend.

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