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PITTSBURGH – The result of rounds of incessant rainfall over the Ohio Valley has resulted in major rivers swelling to above flood stage to levels not seen in several years as cities prepare for a long-term flood event.

A waterway that many communities are monitoring is the Ohio River, which forms where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers merge in Pittsburgh.

On Wednesday, a river gauge located near Point State Park reported the Ohio River rose to 26’ and was forecast to reach at least 27’ on Thursday.

The river level is the highest since around Sept. 11, 2018, but is expected to stay below levels where operations are impacted at PNC Park.

According to the National Weather Service office in Pittsburgh, the home to the Pittsburgh Pirates is usually flooded when water levels reach higher than 30 feet.

The last time PNC Park was flooded by the river was back during Hurricane Ivan on Sept. 18, 2004.

The city’s Department of Public Works has closed several parks and trails along the rivers’ banks due to the high water levels.

“These areas will remain closed until the flood waters return to a safe level. Once safe, DPW crews will be dispatched to clean up flood debris, which may make the trail/park unsafe for residents. At this time, flood waters are not expected to recede until the weekend. Exact re-opening times will depend on water levels and present debris,” public works stated.


Further south in Parkersburg, West Virginia, city workers have installed flood gates as the river is expected to reach just short of major flood status by Friday morning.

Based on the expected crest of around 40 feet, water is expected to inundate the town of Vienna, West Virginia, and several school districts that border the river have been closed.

“Recent heavy rains have caused high water and flooding in some areas. As a result, Point Park and the Parkersburg Ohio River Trail (PORT) have been closed at all access points. Please, avoid these areas until the high waters have receded. Keep in mind even after the water recedes there will likely be large amounts of debris left behind. City crews will work as they always have to get it cleaned up as soon as possible,” the Parkersburg Police Department said.

River gauges in Pomeroy, Powhatan Point and Marietta, in Ohio are all expected to reach major flood status.


Further south in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, the Ohio River is expected to reach minor flood stage of at least 53’ early next week.

At that stage, some access roadways in Covington, Kentucky, are submerged, but major roads and operations around Great American Ball Park are unaffected.

The river level is expected to remain elevated through the foreseeable future, which will make monitoring any upcoming wet weather systems critical until the region can sufficiently dry out and stay rain-free.

Expected water levels along the Ohio River are forecast to remain well below historical values.

According to the NWS, the flood of 1937 remains the worst to impact communities along the Ohio River. An estimated 350 people were killed, and 1 million were left homeless after flooding from Point Pleasant, West Virginia, to the merger with the Mississippi River in Cario, Illinois.

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