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Good Question: How do weather officials determine when a river will crest?

For many people living along the Kentucky River in Frankfort, its been a waiting game.

Since Sunday people have been watching the water rise, and wondering how long it would take it to go back down before assessing the damage.

Good Question: How do weather officials determine when a river will crest?

We know what flash flooding can do, it can turn main streets into rolling rivers, damaging anything in its path.

"What most people don't realize, or think about is your smaller streams and creeks have to run into your bigger rivers, so it takes a while for all that water even days to get to the bigger rivers and tributaries." said WKYT Chief Meteorologist TG Shuck.

That's why its been a waiting game for folks along the Kentucky River in Frankfort.

Even though the rain has stopped, as of Tuesday afternoon the river was still rising.

People with homes in the water's path could only wait for word it had crested.

"When you have a big rainfall event like what we had on Sunday you're looking at anywhere between 24 to 72 hours before those bigger rivers begin to crest." said Shuck.

Officials with the National Weather Service say the Kentucky River crested at about 43 feet, that's a good twelve feet above flood stage.

Trying to determine just when and how high a river will crest is by no means an exact science.

"They look at the gauges and of course you take the amount of rain that has fallen and also how the flow of the river is going and try to get an estimate." said Shuck.

Even when a river crests, the water doesn't start to recede immediately.

Weather officials say it could still be days before the Kentucky River gets below flood stage.


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