City of Cincinnati Officials Respond to Heavy Flooding

Heavier-than-average rains have caused road closures due to landslides and flooding in residential areas like Northside. What are city officials doing to mitigate the impact?

click to enlarge City of Cincinnati Officials Respond to Heavy Flooding
George Hodan/Creative Commons

Recent heavy rains have taken a large and obvious toll on many parts of the Greater Cincinnati area, and City of Cincinnati officials today outlined their efforts to respond to the resulting severe flooding and landslides.

“Addressing flooding is truly a city-wide effort,” Cincinnati City Manager Patrick Duhaney said at a news conference today at the city’s Emergency Communications Center in Price Hill. Representatives from the Cincinnati Police Department, the Cincinnati Fire Department, the city’s Office of Environment and Sustainability and other city departments were also present.

According to Duhaney, the city will invest in new technology that will keep track of weather-related incidents like landslides and floods and distribute information about them to residents. Details about those investments will be rolled out in the next few weeks, Duhaney said.

One of those new technologies is called RAVE Alert, a fast-notification system that allows the city to send residents alerts in real time.

Duhaney also highlighted increases in funding for landslide mitigation and general public services in the city’s budget, which passed yesterday.

“We’re heading in the right direction,” Duhaney said. “It’s all hands on deck. Everyone is working overtime, working nonstop to meet the needs of the citizens.”

Recent rains have led to flooded basements and other headaches for residents in neighborhoods like Northside, where more than 375 residents have reported flooding they believe have been caused by a Metropolitan Sewer District construction project and sewer backups related to the torrential rains. MSD is investigating those reports and says some are likely not related to the sewer system.

The flooding is a big deal for homeowners, who must figure out how to remove the water and clean up afterward.

But there are also immediate safety concerns from the high waters. Mayor John Cranley reminded residents to avoid trying to drive through large amounts of standing water in roads, and to call the city at 513-591-5050 with reports about large amounts of debris in storm drains.

Cranley said the Cincinnati Fire Department has an emergency contact list of residents in low-lying areas who may need to evacuate or otherwise be aware when floods occur.

Flooding isn’t the only problem the rains have caused.

Officials gave an update about a landslide that happened last night on Columbia Parkway, which had closed the westbound lanes that go into the city. One lane into the city has since been opened up.

The major artery into downtown from the city’s east side has seen a number of landslides and related road closures over the past year, as have other roads on both the city’s east and west sides. The city scrambled earlier this year to find $20 million to shore up the Parkway on a permanent basis.

“Your city is working to mitigate the harms,” Cranley said. “Obviously, we don’t control mother nature. We’ve had as much rain this year as we had all of last year, and we’re not even halfway through the year yet.” 

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