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New Richmond, The Banks Watch And Wait For River Flooding

Water started appearing on Mehring Way at Central Avenue Friday morning.
Bill Rinehart
Water started appearing on Mehring Way at Central Avenue Friday morning.

Update from the National Weather Service 8:21 a.m. Feb. 25:

Latest forecast for the Ohio River at Cincinnati has a crest occurring this afternoon at approximately 60.6 ft. Current stage is nearing 60 ft. After the crest this afternoon, levels should begin going back down.

Update from the National Weather Service 11:32 p.m. Feb. 24:

The forecast for the Ohio River at Cincinnati has been updated. 60 foot level now expected Sunday morning, not Monday morning

Original Story:

The latest forecast from the National Weather Service puts the Ohio River cresting at 59.5 feet on Tuesday.  That means water will start creeping into New Richmond this weekend. Village Administrator Greg Roberts says at 60 feet the river will be in some homes and businesses. He says there isn't a mandatory evacuation order.

"A number of those businesses and residents are working with family and employees and volunteers to move items to higher ground. Some of them have second stories were things are moved. Some of them are loading up vehicles," Roberts says.

He says he expects the river to stay high for a while. New Richmond's website has a map that shows where the high-water marks are, so people can make plans.

If the National Weather Service predictions are correct, Roberts says nearly half of the community will have water in it. He says it's not the first time.

"All of the plans we've learned from past experience are now being put into place with a prayer that we don't have to implement a worst-case situation. The current prediction of 60 feet is significant but it could get worse. We want to make sure that we're ready," Roberts says.

He says the 1997 flood was a wake-up call for the village, and led to different planning.

Clermont County Emergency Management and several first responder and disaster relief agencies plan to open an emergency command center at New Richmond Middle School Saturday morning. Greater Cincinnati Red Cross will open an emergency shelter at New Richmond High School Saturday afternoon. The Tri-State County Animal Response Team is working on a pet shelter but a location hasn't been determined.

This will be the biggest flood at Cincinnati since the Banks and Smale Riverfront Park were built out. This picture was taken early Friday morning.
Credit Bill Rinehart / WVXU
This will be the biggest flood at Cincinnati since the Banks and Smale Riverfront Park were built out. This picture was taken early Friday morning.

Cincinnati's Riverfront

The Banks also is threatened by the rapidly encroaching Ohio River.

In an email to county leaders, Stadia and Parking Director Joe Feldkamp says crews at Great American Ballpark put up flood gates at Dock 2 at Mehring Way and Broadway, earlier in the week, and started installing Dock 1 gates on Mehring Way Friday. He says they were getting ready to install gates at Dock 3 at East Pete Rose Way and Broadway if needed.

Feldkamp says typically at a river level of 52 feet, the Paul Brown Stadium west parking lot starts flooding. At 57 feet, the east parking lot area floods. Walls were going to be installed Friday as well.

River water could affect parking garages. Feldkamp's e-mail says at 56 feet, the southern side of the East Garage at Mehring Way and East Pete Rose Way is closed.

He says at 57.5 feet, Mehring Way would be closed because of floodwaters coming up through storm drains. At 58 feet, Lot E on Mehring Way, south of Paul Brown Stadium will be closed.

Feldkamp writes, "As of right now streets and garage operations at 59 feet is questionable as we have not experienced this level with the current riverfront build out."

He says staff believes Lot D would be submerged. At 60 feet, water could start to appear in the lower level of the Central Riverfront Garage and Lot B, on West Pete Rose Way.

Feldkamp says "We believe that 60 feet is in our future this weekend, we plan on closing the lower level of CRG, Lot D, and Lot B and removing all of the parking equipment."

Hamilton County Emergency Management is maintaining an online list of closed roads. Clermont County is posting flooding information on Facebook.

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Rinehart has been a radio reporter since 1994 with positions in markets like Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio: and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.