Flooding in Kentucky Could Lead to State of Emergency

Declaring a state of emergency could result in receiving additional aid and assistance for areas that have been severely affected by flooding.

by Christopher Harris, Commonwealth Journal, Somerset, Ky. / February 22, 2019

(TNS) - President Trump used a national emergency call to move forward on building a wall along the country's southern border.

One wonders about the possibility of building walls around the lake. And maybe a few creeks.

Indeed, Pulaski County Judge-Executive Steve Kelley said that there is a real chance flooding due to excessive rain in this area could lead to him declaring a state of emergency in Pulaski County.

"We're still watching it," said Kelley. "We're supposed to get more rain so that might happen in the next few days."

Declaring a state of emergency could result in receiving additional aid and assistance for areas that have been severely affected by flooding -- and there are a number of roads in the county that have been closed, even as of Wednesday afternoon.

They include Sloans Valley Road at Fins and Feathers Road, Kenny Street from Jarvis Avenue to Calumet Drive, Pumphouse Road a half-mile out, Ky, 39 by Misty Drive, Old Stanford Road, the 4500 block of Slate Branch Road and also by Madira Drive, one mile out Wilson Ridge Road, Clay Hill Road off of Ky. 192, and the bridge at Blaze Valley.

That information, provided by Kelley mid-afternoon Wednesday, was news breaking in the moment. As Kelley read off the list of names, Deputy Judge-Executive Dan Price was still handing him more that had just been received.

While roads have been covered over by water -- as always, drivers are advised to turn around and not try to drive through the high waters -- Kelley noted it's been because of the "slow and steady" rainfall. Flash flooding had not been a substantial problem earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, Burnside Mayor Robert Lawson confirmed that the boat ramp at the top of the hill at Burnside Island is closed -- "You can't get down to the boat ramp," he said. "The park is still open, the golf course and all that" -- and said some other areas of Burnside had been affected, such as West Lakeshore Drive.

"We have the state and city working on it now," said Lawson the latter situation on Wednesday afternoon.

Lee Roberts, Public Affairs Specialist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District, noted that the Waitsboro recreation area was closed on February 13, while Fishing Creek's recreation area was closed Tuesday. The Slate Branch Boat Ramp is also closed.

However, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District sought to dispel rumors that Wolf Creek Dam in Jamestown, Ky., is in danger of imminent failure.

"A local radio station commentator put out false information this morning that Wolf Creek Dam could fail at any time and local residents downstream needed to formulate an evacuation plan," according to a release from the Corps.

"This is completely false," said Kyle Hayworth, Dam Safety Program Manager with the Nashville District. "The dam is not failing. There have been no signs of distress with the project, and our dam safety staff has been and will continue to monitor all of the Cumberland River Basin dams throughout this high-water event."

The Corps of Engineers is also aware of a social media video making its rounds that shows water leaking from the concrete face of the dam, and is addressing similar public fears, letting people know there is no reason for alarm.

"The water observed seeping out of the concrete is at a joint where drainage systems relieve internal pressures inside the dam," said Brad Long, acting chief of the Nashville District's Civil Design Branch. "It is not a dam safety concern. It will likely continue until the pool elevation returns to normal levels."

The Nashville District is posting the very latest updates on its website and on Lake Cumberland's Facebook page. The public is highly encouraged to seek out these resources for reliable information about water management, operations at the dam, and impacts around the lake.

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©2019 the Commonwealth Journal (Somerset, Ky.)

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