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Damage Assessment And Cleanup Await In Flood-Stricken Louisville Area

Waterfront Park Flooded
Waterfront Park Flooded

The Ohio River reached its crest Monday afternoon and officials say it will take several days for the water to return to its normal level and for floodwaters to recede.

Heavy rains over the past week caused widespread flooding in communities along the river, forcing people from their homes and prompting numerous road closures.

Officials say once the waters recede, the next steps are damage assessment and debris cleanup.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has signed an emergency declaration and has asked Gov. Matt Bevin to include the city’s flood damage in his request for federal disaster assistance.

Fischer said he’s confident that the city will exceed the $2.8 million damage threshold to become eligible for federal reimbursement for flood-related expenses.

“There’s also an individual assistance plan that’s part of this that sounds better than what it actually is,” said Fischer. “There’s not a lot of money available, and they are loans, they are not grants. But that is part of the FEMA process as well.”

Officials with the Metro Public Works Department say they’ll soon set up drop off points for debris disposal.

Matt Rhodes with the Department of Public Health and Wellness said homeowners should take precautions to avoid exposure to mold and other hazards.

“As they go into their homes and start cleanup activities, [it's important] that they use proper protective equipment," Rhodes said. "That’s gloves, N95 masks, goggles, rubber boots. Just so they protect themselves.”

The Metropolitan Sewer District says all 16 of its pumping stations will remain in service through March 4.

Severe weather, including floods and a tornado, are being blamed for at least two weekend deaths elsewhere in Kentucky.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.