POINT PLEASANT — The Ohio River was on the rise this past weekend with water levels continuing to grow toward flood stage late Monday.
However, the National Weather Service (NWS) is projecting those water levels along the Ohio River to remain below flood stage throughout the region, keeping water from some area roadways by only a few feet.
In Point Pleasant, the river is expected to crest on Christmas Eve night at a level of 37.3 feet. Flood stage in Point Pleasant is 40 feet. At 40 feet, low lying areas surrounding Point Pleasant and vicinity are flooded due to backwater. Also, the amphitheater lower pier is flooded and half way up the steps.
At the Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam in Gallia County/Gallipolis Ferry, the NWS projects a crest of 42.2 feet at 1 a.m. on Christmas morning. Flood stage at Byrd Lock is 50 feet.
As for the neighbors to the north, as of Monday afternoon, water levels at the Racine Ohio Locks and Dam were projected to crest at 36.5 feet at 1 p.m. on Tuesday (Christmas Eve). Flood stage at the location is 41 feet. At 41 feet, water overflows onto Ohio 124 in Antiquity, Ohio. At 42 feet water flows onto Ohio 124 in Minersville, Ohio.
Point Pleasant has seen its share of record flooding events and though the 1937 flood often is mistaken for the largest, it was not.
According to the NWS, the Ohio River crested at 62.8 feet on March 30, 1913 at Point Pleasant, barely beating out the Jan. 27, 1937 crest of 62.7 feet.
As for other record crests at Point Pleasant, here are the rest of the “top 10” according to the NWS - 60.7 feet on Feb. 11, 1884; 55 feet on April 16, 1948; 54.8 feet on March 18, 1907; 54.7 feet on Jan. 2, 1943; 54.4 feet on March 22, 1936; 54.3 feet on Jan. 1, 1943; 53 feet on April 24, 1901; 52.78 feet on March 9, 1945.
Speaking of flooding, this fall the City of Point Pleasant completed its federally mandated accreditation report for its flood wall and levee system for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This meant since the city met or exceeded all of FEMA’s criteria, citizens which enjoy the protection of the flood wall and levee system and will not be required to carry flood insurance on their properties. Had the city failed this accreditation, an additional burden of carrying flood insurance would’ve fallen to area residents.
The Point Pleasant Local Protection Project (the flood wall) was authorized by the Flood Control Act of June 22, 1936 as modified by the Flood Control Act of Aug. 28, 1937. Work on the flood wall project was initiated in August 1948 and completed in 1951.
FEMA now requires towns with levee systems to provide three feet of flood protection for residents with Point Pleasant providing eight feet - obviously exceeding this requirement.