Rainy weather has caused significant problems throughout Eastern Kentucky this week, but the impact to Floyd County was minimal as of print deadline on Tuesday.
Floyd County Emergency Management Director Tim Fields reported Tuesday morning that there was no major flooding in the county, saying that water has closed roads, however, in low-lying areas. Several areas of Ky. 122 were closed, he said, because of flooding, and a clogged drain in New Allen prompted closure of a street near the Allen Volunteer Fire Department in New Allen Monday evening. High water was has also been reported since Friday on Ky. 7 in Wayland, on Ky. 194 between the German Bridge Campground and the Pike County line and on Ky. 979 in Harold, as well as other roads, but as of Tuesday morning, no homes or businesses had been reported damaged.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported that excess rainfall raised the normal winter pool from 645 ft. to nearly 651 ft. at Dewey Lake on Friday, and officials started holding water back from the dam on Saturday until waterways in Paintsville dropped below flood stage. The Corps reported, however, on Monday, that the water level dropped to 653 ft.
Chris Miller, a natural resources specialist for the Corps at Dewey Lake, said the highest water recorded at Dewey Lake during this rainy weather event was on Sunday morning, when rains raised the water level to nearly 655 ft., which is almost 10 ft. above the normal winter pool level.
“That was basically just because we couldn’t let out more water because it was starting to hit the max level for the Levisa Fork river and so we had to hold it back on Saturday, and on Sunday I came in and started slowly letting it back out,” he said.
On Tuesday morning, the water level had dropped to 649 ft., he said.
He said officials usually check the lake level and outflow level at the dam every hour during heavy rain events.
Miller said the highest water level recorded at the lake was in 1955, when the water level raised 688 ft.
“On the back side of the dam and the lake, you can see the steps are painted with different levels and the highest, the 688, is marked on the stairs there. It’s a good two-thirds up the hill. The top of the dam is 713,” he said.
On Friday, Feb. 7, Gov. Beshear declared a state of emergency in response to heavy flooding in several southeastern Kentucky counties, and rain is expected to continue this week.
“Since Feb. 3, Kentucky has experienced an extremely heavy rain event, which has caused significant flash flooding, landslides and mudslides across the southeastern portion of the Commonwealth,” a press release said. “This has resulted in enhanced threats to citizens and major impacts on infrastructure, governmental properties, commercial properties, agricultural production and private properties.”
The state activated its emergency operations center in response to the flooding.
“We urge citizens across the Commonwealth to stay vigilant, monitor their local media, listen to local authorities, and heed weather warnings over the next several days,” Beshear said in a press release. “I declared a state of emergency to allow effected communities to utilize state resources and we will continue to act swiftly to ensure the safety and security of Kentucky families and communities.”