New Corps Reports Downgrade Flood Expectations
April M. Fronick • Editor
Flooding has arrived in the river cities, but it may not be as bad as originally predicted.
Earlier this month, experts had predicted flood stages that rivaled 1993 but it appears this will not be the case. Reports by the Corps of Engineers and the National Weather Service show water may reach just slightly higher than present next week then should steadily decline.
In Clarksville, the water is at 31.9 which is far above the normal 25.0 the town would prefer. At the 30-feet mark, flooding begins along Highway 79 and at the 31-feet mark the Boat Club, First Street and the railroad tracks begin to experience flooding. A fact that wasn’t lost on residents as sandbagging commenced last week.
“We’re not in crisis yet,” noted Mayor Jo Anne Smiley. “We installed the metal wall on Front Street. We have a six-inch pump going 24/7 at the base of Washington Street with is the lowest point.”
Water generally drains to that point and becomes worse when the wall is up. The wall will be reinforced with sandbags as needed.
“We have an inventory from sandbagging for four days,” Smiley remarked. “We’re ready to build whatever walls are necessary as the river dictates.”
While the report varies over the next week, it is anticipated flood levels will only go up to 32.2 on April 29-30. The river reached 37.5 in 1993.
In Louisiana, the story is about the same. There is flooding in the lower regions of Highway 79 (3rd Street), Delaware and Maryland Streets. Some have left their homes and businesses have been closed until the water subsides.
“No one has requested help at this time,” said Mayor Tom Wallace. “We have stands set up where people can go and get sandbags. The city administrator (Bob Jenne) built 10 stands for people to use.”
The city is awaiting the arrival of a machine that will load sandbags. Until then, citizens may use the stands at the city shed located on 30th Street.
Currently the river in Louisiana is at 21.6 which is much higher than the 15.0 norm. The NWS only predicts a slightly higher stage next week. Floodgates may be installed at the city sewage facility.
At the 23-feet mark, Highway 79 is closed at the edge of town and motors are pulled at the sewer treatment facility and the plant is closed. The river reached 28.4 in 1993.