Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Meltdown with rain a concern

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Higher temperatures later this week will melt much of the snow and ice that have created havoc on the Tristate's roads. But, if combined with heavy rain, the melting snow could cause a new problem - flooding.

Closings & delays
Weather forecast, radar
Traffic conditions
Local emergency officials say they will closely monitor the level of rivers and creeks as the snow melts this week.

"Any time you have significant snow and melting, flooding is a concern," said Don Maccarone, director of the Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency. "Let's hope we don't have a lot of rain. That's the last thing we need."

Weather forecasters say it's too early to determine if it will rain hard enough Friday and Saturday to cause flooding.

Temperatures this week will reach as high as the low 50s on Friday before dropping Saturday, according to the National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio. There might be rain on Friday and Saturday, said Jeffrey Sites, a meteorologist.

Beth Nevel, director of the Clermont County Emergency Management Agency, said her office will stay abreast of weather reports and river and creek levels.

"There's always a concern when you have this much moisture on the ground," she said.

The snow is so compacted because of the ice that it should melt slowly enough not to create a problem, agreed William Turner, director of the Butler County Emergency Management Agency, and Ken Knipper, director of the Campbell County Office of Emergency Management.

"I don't expect a lot of trouble out of this melting snow," Turner said.

"We haven't had the depth of snow that they have had in other places," Knipper said.

Ed Burk, Kenton County's director of homeland security and emergency management, said officials routinely monitor the Banklick Creek for possible flooding.

"At this point, we're not concerned about the flooding potential,'' Burk said. "The only time we have a significant problem down there is if we get more than an inch and a half of rain within an eight-hour window."

Cindy Schroeder contributed to this report.

E-mail skemme@enquirer.com and cschroeder@enquirer.com

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