Flood waters peak in Pittsburgh as swollen Ohio River threatens towns in at least 5 states

PITTSBURGH – The result of rounds of incessant rainfall over the Ohio Valley has resulted in major rivers swelling to above flood stage to levels not seen in several years as cities prepare for a long-term flood event.

Many communities monitor the Ohio River, which forms where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers merge in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

In Pittsburgh, a river gauge near Point State Park reported the Ohio River crested at 28.37 feet on Thursday morning – just shy of major flood stage, which is considered 28.5 feet. On Friday morning, levels dropped to 22.49 feet.

While the river level was the highest since around Sept. 11, 2018, it stayed below levels where operations are impacted at PNC Park, home to Major League Baseball's Pittsburgh Pirates.

According to Pittsburgh's National Weather Service office, the baseball stadium is usually flooded when water levels exceed 30 feet. The last time the river flooded PNC Park was during Hurricane Ivan on Sept. 18, 2004.

Due to the high water levels, the city’s Department of Public Works has closed several parks and trails along river banks.

"These areas will remain closed until the flood waters return to a safe level," public works stated. "Once safe, DPW crews will be dispatched to clean up flood debris, which may make the trail/park unsafe for residents. At this time, flood waters are not expected to recede until the weekend. Exact re-opening times will depend on water levels and present debris."


Farther south in Parkersburg, West Virginia, city workers have installed flood gates as the river is expected to reach just short of major flood status by Friday morning.

Based on the expected crest of nearly 41 feet, water is expected to inundate the town of Vienna, West Virginia, and several school districts that border the river have been closed.

"Recent heavy rains have caused high water and flooding in some areas. As a result, Point Park and the Parkersburg Ohio River Trail (PORT) have been closed at all access points," the Parkersburg Police Department said. "Please, avoid these areas until the high waters have receded. Keep in mind even after the water recedes there will likely be large amounts of debris left behind. City crews will work as they always have to get it cleaned up as soon as possible."

River gauges in Pomeroy, Powhatan Point and Marietta in Ohio are all expected to reach major flood status.


Farther south in Cincinnati, Ohio, and northern Kentucky, the Ohio River is expected to reach a minor flood stage of at least 53 feet early next week.

Some access roadways in Covington, Kentucky, are submerged at that stage, but major roads and operations around Great American Ball Park, home to MLB's Cincinnati Reds, are unaffected.

The river level is expected to remain elevated through the foreseeable future, making monitoring any upcoming wet weather systems critical until the region can sufficiently dry out and stay rain-free.

Expected water levels along the Ohio River are forecast to remain well below historical values.

According to the NWS, the flood of 1937 remains the worst to impact communities along the Ohio River. An estimated 350 people were killed, and 1 million were left homeless after flooding from Point Pleasant, West Virginia, to the merger with the Mississippi River in Cario, Illinois.

Original article source: Flood waters peak in Pittsburgh as swollen Ohio River threatens towns in at least 5 states