Waters, tempers rise as rain washes out Tri-State

Water levels rose and tempers heated as Mother Nature dropped several inches of rain across the Tri-State over a 72-hour period.

Heavy rain inundated Northern Kentucky and Indiana overnight Wednesday into Friday morning, soaking parts of the region in as much as three inches of rain in these areas. The fast-moving storm produced localized flooding of low lying roads, property and small streams.

Some residents of Crittenden, Ky. found themselves trapped for portions of Thursday and Friday due to a mixture of flooding and construction on a pair of bridges connecting them to other parts of Northern Kentucky.

Repairs began on a Heathen Ridge Road bridge on March 31 and since there's an alternate way across it hasn't led to many issues for local motorists.

However, that changed when rushing water forced its way across the secondary route, submerging a major portion of the only road out of town for some residents under several inches of water.

"Yeah, it has been a problem, I missed half a days work," said Mike Blaze. "You usually have another way out, but not right now.

After commenting that flooding on that bridge happens often during the spring, Blaze said the people who planned the repair project should have used more foresight when scheduling it.

"They could have done this in June or a drier part of the summer. This is the wettest part of the year right now and you only got one way in or out right now."

Drivers told WCPO that while the water end up receding both days, they were essentially imprisoned from 2 to 5 p.m. Thursday and from the early morning hours until just before noon Friday due to a rapid-like stream of water.

"We couldn't get in from work right away yesterday. We couldn't get out to go to work today," said Blaze's wife, Joyce. "My son didn't get to go to school, so it's a very big inconvienience."

The major rivers saw challenges as well.

On Monday, the Ohio River will crest at 43 feet, nine feet below flood stage, according to the 9 First Warning Meteorologists. But that doesn't mean the mighty river hasn't caused problems.

The muddy water of the Ohio River was visible lapping at the back of the Riverbend Music stage in Anderson Township on Friday. Next door at the Belterra Park Racing Complex the water wasn't over the track just yet.

Not too far away, the Little Miami River's racing, debris-filled water posed serious challenges to boat owners at the Shelter Cove Marina on Kellogg Avenue.

Things were considerably calmer for Dave Bricking at the Riverside Marina in Dayton, Ky. but the accumulation of floating driftwood created or dragged into the river by the storm remained an issue for him.

"You don't want to let it pile up. When you let it pile up, it's a lot of weight and then you know it's even hard to get it out the more you get."

The storm Thursday also marked the 40th anniversary of the 1974 Tornado Super Outbreak that leveled the town of Xenia. It is still the worst weather outbreak of its kind in U.S. history, producing an unprecedented number of large, damaging tornadoes.

While not as destructive as the historic weather event, the recent deluge of rainwater that poured down across Northern Kentucky, eastern Indiana and southwest Ohio led to various reports by infuriated motorists and homeowners.

Flooded roadways, streets littered with the remnants of one-time trees and road conditions that led to what some on social media described as "hydroplaning" were common mentions on complaint lists penned between Thursday and Friday evening.

Clay Brizendine ‏(@ClayBrizendine) wrote on Twitter, "@Cincywxman @WCPO Based on that we could have had almost 2ft of snow if this had been just 3-4 weeks ago!"

Some people joked about the situation, like Twitter user "Kate-Kate" (@Katydid94) did on Thursday: "Flood warning. We're all gonna die. #Cincinnati"

But many unlucky residents of the Tri-State were surprised to find several inches of water in their basements, garages and various other rooms in their homes.

It also put a literal and figurative damper on the Reds' opening-season series against their archnemesis, the St. Louis Cardinals. The hometown team dropped a rain-soaked three-game series, two games to one.

For some Reds fans get a kick in the gut on the way home, as well:

"On the way home on 275 W from reds game there are some seriously thick patches of fog. Be careful @WCPO," wrote Twitter user @GoReds42093 ("Ian Manor").

In Kenton County, the heavy rain and moving water caused a landslide at Devou Park near Old Montague Road heading down from the park toward Ludlow. The shift of dirt and rock on the hillside caused a portion of the roadway to crack and splinter off, raising concerns about additional damage to Old Montague Road.

The incident comes a little more than two weeks after a mudslide in the area caused a retaining wall to collapse on North Devou Park Road, near the western entrance of the park in Covington.

Crews were still working to repair the retaining wall between Western and Montague

roads. That repair and additional roadwork in that area were expected to be completed in a few weeks.

RELATED: Find more traffic information here
MORE: Latest weather forecast

Covington residents Greg and Sandy Thornsburg monitored things from the porch of their Euclid Avenue home.

"We start checking everything in the basement, in the back yards, driveways, all the neighbors, everybody on the street does. We never know when it's going to come up."

The Thornsburgs had roughly $50,000 worth of damage from a flooding incident in July.

"The furnace had to be taken apart, completely cleaned inside. We threw out a lot more of our stuff that we saved from the first flood," Greg Thornsburg said.

They also lost things like camping equipment and things you can't put a price tag on like pictures and other keepsakes, said Sandy Thornsburg.

Local officials told WCPO on Thursday night that while they didn't have any reports of "severe flooding issues," they did note that creeks and bodies of water in the area were on the rise.

Water was also on the rise Thursday in Walton, Ky., especially near the intersection of Richwood and Richwood Church roads.

Boone County Emergency Management says rising creeks are the biggest concern. They were watching for flooding and overflow water Thursday night.
 

Motorists in the 1600 block of Eastern Avenue in Covington experienced a prolonged detour as crews worked to clear an accumulation of overflow water that had funneled into the center of the roadway.

While traveling through Walton on Thursday, drivers witnessed several tree-lined riverbanks bubbling with brown, foamy water as several creeks and streams teetered on the brink of overflowing.

The Boone County EMA is conducting regular checks to assess local flooding risks and problems as a result of the rain but they didn't experience any other major issues.

It wasn't the same case in Indiana, where several roadways were shut down through Friday night due to washout conditions.

"High waters have caused closure of state highways at numerous locations across southeast Indiana. The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) reports these following roadways as currently closed to traffic," wrote spokesperson Mary Maginity in a press release.

As far as the Tri-State region is concerned, the closures include multiple stretches of State Route 262 in Dearborn (near Dillsboro) and Ohio counties (between Martin and Hueseman roads). Repairs as a result of the washout in the Dearborn area will take place Monday, Maginity said.

She also reminded drivers to "turn around when encountering a flooded roadway – and not drive through standing water. Six inches of standing water can cause passenger cars to stall. A foot of water may cause a vehicle to float away."

If in doubt, be safe. After all, most flooding deaths occur in automobiles, according to the National Weather Service.

Even though the flood threat wasn't as severe in southwest Ohio, several areas struggled to absorb the immense amount of rain that fell over the initial 48-hour period.

One such area was College Hill, which saw several inches of standing water turn into a natural road block for many drivers. The dead-end on Emerson Avenue, backing into Clovernook Country Club, received so much water that the numerous sewers and drainage runoffs lining the street were ineffective.

The flooding was caused in part due to a clog in a broken pipe, according to Marty Cole, director of Public Works.

Crews from the utility company had to cut the curb of the street to allow the water to run off into the country club.

On Friday, the Hamilton County Engineer shut down Miles Road, between Daly and Mill roads in Springfield Township, due to high water.

Maintenance crews continued to monitor the water level Friday afternoon and planned to reopen the road as soon as possible, according to Theodore B. Hubbard, acting Hamilton County Engineer.

Some communities across Greater Cincinnati experienced a variety of weather-related issues such as structural damage to building.

Norwood police believe the significant amount of rain played a contributing role to the partial collapse of an abandoned building Thursday. The building inspector told WCPO the entire structure may have to be torn down after its facade crumbled into Carthage Avenue.

Mercifully, Mother Nature let up by midday Friday, allowing some of the rainwater to dry up or soak into the already saturated terrain. Some of it.

At least it's the weekend.

Additional images and videos outlining Mother Nature's rain-soaked fury are available in the media player above.

WCPO reporters Bryce Anslinger, Tom McKee and Brian Yocono contributed to this report.

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