Flood preparedness focus of daily discussions in Fulton County

Flood preparedness focus of daily discussions in Fulton County

Posted: Monday, May 2, 2011 9:03 pm
By: Kevin Bowden, Staff Reporter

Flood preparedness focus of daily discussions in Fulton County | Flood preparedness focus of daily discussions in Fulton County

GETTING INTO POSITION — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has dispatched this barge to the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway south of Cairo, Ill
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
Officials in Fulton County, Ky., met early today for the fifth consecutive day to discuss the high water situation that is growing worse by the day.
A flood preparedness meeting was held in Hickman, Ky., at 9 a.m. to review the severity of flooding along the Fulton County levee.
A section of Kentucky 94 (also known as the Great River Road) is closed again today due to high water. The closed section is located in the lower bottom area of Fulton County. Also, there is water over another section of Kentucky 94 in the Willingham Bottom area of Fulton County, but Fulton County officials have not closed that section as of early today.
Extreme caution is being issued for motorists traveling in flood prone areas.
Meanwhile, the entire region is enduring yet another day of rain and the threat of flooding.
For the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, it has been an around-the-clock effort as officials with the agency continue to monitor levees along the Mississippi River.
“We have more than 200 members of our Memphis District team actively engaged in this floodfight,” according to Col. Vernie Reichling, Memphis District Commander.
The Corps continues to operate the Mississippi River and Tributaries Project as designed, according to Reichling. He reported the system is performing as designed; however, with the unprecedented level of river stages and huge pressures, some areas along the levee system are experiencing seepage. Engineers and local levee boards are fighting the seepage with sandbag ring levees and water berms to offset the tremendous pressure on the levee.
As of Sunday, the river level at Cairo, Ill., reached a record-setting 59.66 feet, according to the Corps. That is higher than the 1937 historic flood.
“The Project Flood is upon us,” Maj. Gen. Michael Walsh, president of the Mississippi River Commission, said Sunday. “It is testing the system like never before.”
The Corps continues to monitor the river levels as the agency considers initiating its Floodway Operations Plan. That plan would involve breaching the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway south of Cairo. That floodway is 35 miles long and varies in width from four to 12 miles wide. The floodway covers an area of about 133,000 acres (about 205 square miles).
The next step in the floodway plan involves repositioning the barges, loaded with explosives, at Birds Point. Once the barges are repositioned the next steps in the plan are to fill wells with the blasting agent, prime the system and then activate the floodway.
With the continued threat of flooding in the forecast, the Gibson Electric Membership Corp. is asking its customers who may be affected by flooding to call their local customer service center and then the utility company will  dispatch a crew to disconnect their electric service, according to a GEMC spokesman.

GEMC spokesman.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by e-mail at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 5.2.11

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