Generally two types of floods occur in Louisville-Jefferson County, Ohio River flooding and flash flooding. Ohio River flooding typically occurs between January and May. Ohio River flooding occurs over a longer period of time (days or weeks) and is generally predicted in advance through the National Weather Service. Flash flooding occurs as a result of heavy rains over a short period of time, or can occur from a dam or levee failure. Flash floods rise and fall quickly, sometimes in just a few minutes.
LENSAlert!: To receive emergency warnings such as flash flood warnings and other severe weather warnings on your phone by voice or text and through email, sign up for Louisville's emergency warning system, LENSAlert.
Emergency Alert System: The National Weather Service manages the Emergency Alert System and issues flood watches and warnings on television and radio stations.
Outdoor Sirens: Outdoor sirens are used for emergency warnings. If you hear outdoor sirens, check local television or radio stations to learn what type of warning is being issued.
Weather Radios: Residents are encouraged to purchase a weather radio for their home. A weather radio provides 24-hour emergency information and alerts you to weather dangers such as floods and tornadoes. More information about weather radios.
Ohio River Flooding
Ohio River levels are forecasted for the next four days at both the Upper McAlpine and Lower McAlpine gauges. To check the current and forecasted river levels, click here. Information about Ohio River stages is also published in the Courier Journal daily. During flood stage, warnings are issued by the local media on local television and radio stations. Maps showing the 10-year, 100-year, and 500-year flood for the Ohio River can be found here. Flood stages for the Ohio River and actions to be taken are shown in the tables below for both the Upper McAlpine Gauge and Lower McAlpine Gauge.
|Ohio River Upper and Lower Gage Flood Stages|
|Flood Stage||Upper Gage||Lower Gage|
|Minor Flood Stage||23||55|
|Moderate Flood Stage||30||65|
|Major Flood Stage||38||73|
|Ohio River Upper Gage River Stages and Actions|
|55.2||Water reaches top of floodwall.|
|53||Sandbagging of low areas of Louisville floodwall begin.|
|52||Flooding begins in Jeffersonville city limits. Shelby Street in Louisville is closed at floodgate.|
|50||Jackson Street, Schoeffel Alley, Hancock Street, Preston Street and 13th Street and closed at floodgates.|
|48||Franklin, 18th, and 26th Streets are closed at floodgates.|
|47||Clay Street, Letterle Avenue, and Washington Street are closed at floodgates.|
|44||Campbell, 12th, Franklin, Wenzel, and Adams Streets are closed at floodgates.|
|42||Buchanan and Cabel Streets are closed at floodgate.|
|40||Mellwood Avenue, Webster Street, and Rowan Street are closed at floodgate.|
|38||6th, 7th and 8th Streets are closed at floodgates. US 42 floods at Harrods Creek.|
|36||11th Street is closed at floodgates.|
|29||Parts of Utica IN flood. Third Street ramp off of I-64 closes. 10th and 27th Streets are closed at floodgates.|
|28||More sections of River Road floods. Beachland Beach area is cut off. Lime Kiln Lane floods south of River Road.|
|27||River Road floods at many locations from 3rd St. to Glenview. Blankenbaker Lane closes south of River Road. River Dell Rd. floods at Mellwood Ave. Riverside Dr. floods at many locations.|
|26||Mockingbird Valley Rd. floods south of Mellwood Ave.|
|24.5||Waldoah Beach and Transylvania Beach areas are cut off. River Road near Indian Hills Trail floods. Adams St. and Witherspoon Rd. closes.|
|23||Some sections of River Road are closed from 3rd St. to 8th St. Eifler Beach and Juniper Beach areas are cut off. Parts of Campbell St., Frankfort Ave., and Mockingbird Valley Rd. close. Right turns onto River Rd. from the I-64 ramp are prohibited.|
|Ohio River Lower Gage River Stages and Actions|
|88.5||The flood will reach the top of the floodwall. A large part of downtown Louisville floods. Parts of I-64 and I-65 flood. Homes along 31W (Dixie Highway) are destroyed. New Albany and Clarksville will suffer major damage.|
|76||US 31W (Dixie Highway) closed at floodgate.|
|74||Houk Lane is closed at floodgate.|
|71||KY 44 is closed.|
|66||Lock is closed. Floodgates at Riverport are closed.|
|65||Parts of US 31W (Dixie Highway) flood from I-265 (Gene Synder Freeway) interchange to West Point KY. Riverfront parks in Clarksville and New Albany flood.|
|59||Overbrook Rd. floods south of Lake Dreamland Rd.|
|58||IN 111 is flooded upstream of Bridgeport.|
|55||Parks and riverfront areas in Clarksville and New Albany flood. Some yards along US 31W (Dixie Highway) from Pleasure Ridge Park to West Point KY flood.|
If You Evacuate:
- Lock your house. Preplan a designated spot (and a phone number) out of the flooded area where everyone can meet if the family becomes separated.
- Do not walk or drive through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths. Six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. One foot of flowing water can move a car. Always use a pole or a stick to make sure the ground is in reach before you enter an area that is flooded.
- Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. Electrocution is the number two cause of flood deaths. Electrical current will travel through water. Report downed power lines to LG&E at 589-3500.
- Turn the gas off at the main valve next to the meter. If you smell natural gas, or hear a hissing noise, chances are good there is a natural gas leak. Immediately call the LG&E Gas Trouble Dept. at 589-5511 or dial 911.
- See that your pets are taken out of harms way. Move them to high ground with you, or take them to a friend whose home is not threatened by the flooding.
After a Flood
- Take care of yourself and your family. A flood is tough on both the body and spirit. The effects a disaster has on you and your family may last a long time. Keep your eyes open for signs of anxiety, stress, and fatigue.
- Always look before you step. After a flood, the ground, floor, and stairs may be slippery and are usually covered with debris, mud, broken bottles, and nails. Stream banks also can be unstable.
- Be alert for gas leaks. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage.
- Make sure that the electricity is turned off when you return home. Do not use appliances or motors that have gotten wet unless they have been taken apart, cleaned, and dried.
- Carbon monoxide exhaust kills. Use a generator or gasoline-powered machines and camp stoves outdoors. Fumes from charcoal are especially deadly.
- Wash and clean everything. Floodwaters can carry chemicals and germs that could be harmful to your health. Spoiled food, flooded cosmetics, and medicines are health hazards. When in doubt, throw it away.
- Get a floodplain permit before you repair flood damage. The Louisville Metro Floodplain Ordinance requires development in the floodplain, including repairs and improvements, to be permitted. Click floodplain permitting tab for more information.