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Riverside Businesses Keep A Close Watch On The Rising Ohio River

The Ohio River, during high water level, upstream of downtown Louisville on Feb. 15, 2018.
The Ohio River, during high water level, upstream of downtown Louisville on Feb. 15, 2018.

Businesses along River Road in Louisville are bracing for the rising Ohio River to potentially reach flood stage this weekend. 

Days of rain from a low-pressure system has put all of Kentucky on a flash-flood watch and put businesses on alert.

Rachel Datillo, co-owner of Endless Summer Paddle and Coffee, moved into her River Road location last year. 

“If it were difficult for people to get to our shop or if there were flooding and there were no parking options, it would be in our best interest to close up the shop for a day or two,” Datillo said. “If [rain] continues and the water continues to rise -- we probably will have to keep our eyes peeled.”

Experience has taught River Road Barbecue staff to keep a close eye on the river.  General Manager Krissy Higgins said her business has been flooded at least four times since it opened in 2012. She said the restaurant will close if the river reaches 27 feet. When the river crested last February, it brought 8 feet of water into the barbecue restaurant.

“We have all of our equipment on wheels, and we’re able to get movers and move all of our equipment to higher ground,” Higgins said. “We know what our plan is if we need to move out…but we’re really keeping our fingers crossed that it will stay well under 27 feet.”

River House restaurant Media Coordinator Kathleen Speicher said they do not plan to close, and Harrod’s Creek Tavern staff said it is unlikely flooding will affect them.

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning from Friday afternoon until further notice. The Ohio River was at 20 feet at the McAlpine Upper Gauge on Thursday. Water levels are expected to rise to 26.5 feet Sunday 

If water levels continue to rise, River Road at Third Street and the nearby I-64 Westbound off ramp will close, according to Louisville Metro Public Works & Assets Spokesperson Salvador Melendez.


Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.

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