Nearly a year after historic flood, Central Ky. prepares for possible flooding

Next week marks one year since a historic flood swept through much of our region.
Published: Feb. 21, 2022 at 5:05 PM EST
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ESTILL COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Next week marks one year since a historic flood swept through much of our region.

In Estill County, water levels along the Kentucky River topped out at 41 feet, setting an all-time record for the county. With heavy rain in the forecast this week, water levels are expected to rise, once again raising flooding concerns.

For those that live in Estill County, flooding has become a more common occurrence and something they deal with every year.

Still, every time waters rise, concern grows for low-lying areas that experience the flooding and this week is one of those times again when residents and county officials are keeping a close eye on the forecast.

“If we get four inches of rain, we will have some flooding and probably some substantial flooding from that, considering that the ground is pretty wet now it’s going to be a lot of runoff,” said Judge Executive Donnie Watson.

Now, current water levels along the Kentucky River in Estill County are just under 14 feet, but, with all of the rain coming in this week, it’s expected that the Kentucky River in the county will reach just moderate flood stage which is 25 feet.

“At moderate, we’ll have a few more roads go under and it will at that point start to cause some inconvenience to folks that may have to try to find another route to wherever they’re trying to get to,” said Ronnie Riddell, director of Estill County EMA.

Unfortunately, county leaders say there isn’t much they can do to mitigate these flooding issues besides relying on federal programs which can only really help by providing property buyouts.

“What you run into with those is you know you’re asking a family that has lived here their entire lives to just pack up and go and it’s not always the best answer for everyone,” Riddell said.

Riddell also wants to warn all drivers this week that it’s important to never drive through the water if you encounter any flooded roadways. He says it only takes a few inches of running water to sweep away your vehicle.

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