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Moderate flooding has New Richmond ready but 'nothing to get excited about' yet

Posted at 3:43 PM, Mar 03, 2021

NEW RICHMOND, Ohio — Village residents along Clermont County's Ohio River banks said Wednesday morning's flooding wasn't the worst they've ever seen, but if the water gets a few feet higher, that could quickly become a different story.

"It's nothing to really get excited about right now, at the current stage," said Lester MacFarland, who lives on Front Street overlooking the river. "Of course, if it goes up, there's going to be some concern."

As of Wednesday afternoon, meteorologists predicted the Ohio River would crest later that evening at just about 56 feet, 4 feet above flood stage. By the afternoon lunch hour, Front Street Cafe had a view of water just about to spill over the embankment but not quite there yet. Other lower-lying areas -- including some minor roads -- were beginning to see some flooding in the area.

The real trouble comes when the river stage hits 58 or 59 feet, said the cafe's owner and president of Renaissance New Richmond Incorporated, Robert Lees.

"You're always prepared," he told WCPO. "If you're from here, you know it. You love it, but you respect it."

Lees said most residents of the small river village "[know] their number."

"That's the level at which water will start to come onto the first floor," he said. "I think everyone knew that it was that time of year when we need to be cautious. I know many people have plans; they probably, as an example, would rent U-Haul trucks and have them ready for a quick move out."

When it's at its current level -- just below that problematic 58- or 59-feet level -- Lees said it actually can be good for business.

"Where we are right now, it actually draws a lot of wonderful people who like to visit the village to see the power of the almighty Ohio," he said.