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Web resources can help cope with high water

March 8, 2011 - Art Smith

Those with property in low-lying areas are keeping a careful eye on the rivers as they slowly come up.

As usual during times of high water, those with businesses in downtown Marietta keep an especially close watch on the muddy Ohio and Muskingum rivers during the spring rains and winter snow melts. The business district was devastated a few years back by a pair of floods. With the lessons of those floods still fresh in the minds of many, plans are in place to deal with what may come next. Fortunately this year, it looks like things will crest below flood stage.

After a giant flood in 1937, a floodwall was built around the business district of Parkersburg, making much of the city immune to the problem of floods.

There are a number of resources available on the Web to help everyone cope with high water.

A list of benchmarks on can let people know exactly when different points around Marietta go underwater.

There is a list of historical Parkersburg floods as well as Parkersburg benchmarks on this site.

The U.S. Geological Survey maintains a variety of river gauges to help both citizens and officials determine what is going on with area waterways. The ones closest to us include:

Ohio River at Willow Island
Ohio River at Marietta pump house
Ohio River at Parkersburg
Muskingum River at McConnelsville
Little Kanawha at Elizabeth

I’m not a hydrologist by any means, but if you look at the gauges it would appear the Parkersburg-Marietta area will not experience much in the way of flooding. In some cases the rivers are expected to rise slightly before they begin to fall. All five gauges are showing crests are below flood stage, even though the one in McConnelsville is by a matter of inches.

If you have property in any of the areas, the online flood gauges can help you judge what actions you need to take to protect yourself.


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Blog Photos

A boat heads down Pike Street in Marietta during the 2004 flood.