Ohio River expected to flood towns again for second time in a week

A water level gauge in Marietta, Ohio, along the Ohio River, crested at major flood status on Friday, April 5, with the level rising to 40.07 feet, but is expected to reach moderate flood status again. The river is expected to reach at least 38’ over the weekend.

MARIETTA, Ohio – Less than a week after the Ohio River reached major flood status along the Ohio-West Virginia border, municipalities are preparing again for additional flooding.

Widespread amounts of 2-5 inches of rainfall around the eastern Ohio River Valley are causing the river and tributaries to swell once again beyond their banks.

Marietta, Ohio, is one of the communities preparing for the renewed round of flooding, with sandbags now available for residents.

The town was in the clean-up stages of a major flood event that impacted the region last week, with now a moderate flood level expected to be reached over the next few days.

"I can’t name all of the volunteers and donors but all of them assisted with the flood preparations, support and clean up," Mayor of Marietta Josh Schlicher stated during the clean-up of the past event. "The donations of supplies, food and other items were very much appreciated. This is the highest river crest since the 1979 flood excluding 2004 and 2005 floods. Many faces have changed since 2004 and 2005, but the mission of preparedness, during and after the flood, was carried out, and everyone did their part and their best."


Officials at the Wheeling - Ohio County Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency in West Virginia are also closely monitoring the river, which is expected to crest around 40 feet on Saturday.

NOAA’s National Weather Prediction Service expects nearly a dozen water level gauges to reach moderate status through the weekend, with levels in major metro areas such as Pittsburgh and Cincinnati only expected to reach minor flood stage.

Even at minor flood status, parks and recreational areas along the river’s banks are usually shut down, and river barge traffic can be impacted.

The Cincinnati Reds have been unable to host firework displays outside the Great American Ball Park due to barge safety, and it is unclear if the river will fall back to acceptable levels when the Los Angeles Angels play the Reds on April 19.


More heavy rainfall expected in April

The heavy precipitation that impacted communities around Pittsburgh and in West Virginia was not unanticipated, as NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center has long warned of above-average rainfall throughout the entire month.

A continued El Niño pattern has allowed an active storm track to impact the Ohio Valley, with several episodes of heavy rainfall.

The National Weather Service reports Pittsburgh is 6.11" above normal and is on track to have its wettest April on record, with Wheeling, West Virginia, at 4.80" above average.

A storm system that promises to produce severe thunderstorms over the heartland could be the next significant wet weather event to impact the Ohio Valley.

April expected precipitation
(FOX Weather)


Forecast models show heavy precipitation could arrive in the eastern parts of the valley by Wednesday and produce at least an inch or two of new rainfall.

Any additional rainfall will keep levels of rivers and streams high and communities susceptible to flash flood events.