CINCINNATI – The Ohio River was very slowly receding Monday after reaching its highest level in two decades, and forecasters expect it to stay above flood stage for most of the week.
Melted snow and rainfalls have caused flooding that swamped roads, businesses and homes in scattered low-lying areas in the Cincinnati region that includes southeast Indiana and northern Kentucky. At least half a dozen homes were evacuated, and dozens of businesses remained closed because they had flooding or access roads were closed by high water.
The National Weather Service said the river was at 57 feet Monday morning, after cresting Sunday morning at 57.7 feet — 7 feet below the 1997 level that caused severe, widespread flooding in the Cincinnati area. Forecasters said the river will be above the 52-foot flood stage until late Thursday.
“It’s a large river. It carries more water,” meteorologist Brian Coniglio said. “It’s going to take a long time.”
Officials in the village of New Richmond some 20 miles southeast of Cincinnati said at least five homes flooded, and many roads in the area had water over them, making travel difficult. Numerous basements in the Cincinnati area had water in them, too.
A Hamilton County emergency management official said Monday that reports were still being compiled, but overall flooding problems appeared to be “very minimal” across the county that includes Cincinnati.
Bary Lusby, operations manager for the county Emergency Management Agency, said a family was evacuated from a flooded rental home in the California neighbourhood and at least one other house was flooded in that eastern Cincinnati community.
“The biggest impact is to the businesses,” Lusby said. “Roads are closed, and that’s affected a number of businesses.”
The Montgomery Inn Boathouse in downtown Cincinnati was among the riverfront businesses still closed Monday. The restaurant closed Saturday night because of the rising river.
“It gets in our basement,” said Lisa Mikula, event manager at the restaurant, adding that they are hoping to reopen Tuesday
At least residents could clean up Monday in temperatures hitting the 70s in clear skies. The weather service said light rainfall is possible Thursday, but dry conditions are expected before and after that.
“The weather conditions are going to be favourable for it to continue to drop,” Coniglio said.
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