Sunday, February 23, 2003

Falling temps ease flood fears


Ohio, Licking rivers crest below danger levels

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Tristate residents don't have to worry about flooding this morning thanks to ... snow.

WINTER WATCH
Closings & delays
Weather forecast, radar
Traffic conditions
Flood warnings were dropped Saturday for a winter storm advisory. The rainy storm systems hovering over the Tristate the last few days were replaced with a winter storm expected to bring colder temperatures and between 1-3 inches of snow by early this morning.

More cold temperatures, along with another 1-3 inches of snow, are predicted for late today and early Monday morning.

"We've dropped the flood watch, because once the colder air moves in, it will freeze water in the ground and we won't have continued runoff," said Don Hughes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington. "We're in the process of getting hit by a series of storms."

The Ohio River is expected to crest at 46 feet this morning - more than 5 feet below flood level. Likewise, none of the tributaries is close to flood stage.

Warren Bruns, a hydrologist with the River Forecast Center, said he expects the Ohio to recede during the early part of the week before inching back up toward flood stage on Wednesday.

"The river will fall very slowly for a couple of days, and then we're looking at another crest around Wednesday, about 47 feet," Bruns said.

Falmouth Mayor Gene Flaugher said his town has been spared any serious flooding problems. Falmouth sits in one of the lowest lying areas in the Tristate and is usually one of the first communities to flood. The community is threatened by the Licking and South Licking rivers.

The Licking River is expected to crest this morning at 23 feet at Falmouth, or five feet below flood stage, according to the National Weather Service. Neither the Great Miami nor the Little Miami rivers are expected to get anywhere close to flood stage.

"We've got about five feet before it gets on any roads or in anybody's basement," Flaugher said. "We've been lucky so far. Our streets are in good shape."

The rain and melting snow caused scattered problems around the Tristate on Saturday. One lane of Route 50 in Whitewater Township, near Lawrenceburg Road, was closed because of standing water. "High water" signs were placed on several roads around Hamilton County, including two spots along Ohio 128 and on Lawrenceburg Road.

Hamilton County Engineer Bill Brayshaw said he had 60 crews out Saturday night, trying to ensure drivers wake up to clear roadways this morning.

"How late we stay out depends on what the good Lord gives us, but we'll be ready for whatever," said Brayshaw, who warned motorists of "black ice," or thin layers of clear ice on roadways that look like pavement.

No roads were closed in Butler, Clermont or Warren counties, although Ohio Highway Patrol did ask for about a half-dozen "high water" signs in various spots around Clermont County. The only "high water" sign posted in Warren County was on Ohio 73 in Clear Creek Township.

E-mail dklepal@enquirer.com




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