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Huntington floodwall closes gates as river crest approaches


The Herald-Dispatch

City crews begin raising the Huntington flood wall on Sunday in preparation for the Ohio River to crest over 50 feet during the next week.
(Herald-Dispatch photo by Ryan Fischer)

HUNTINGTON, W.Va.  — For the first time since 2011, the Huntington floodwall has closed its downtown gates as the Ohio River is expected to crest at 52.9 feet Monday afternoon. The metal barricades were installed at the 10th and 12th Street entrances of Harris Riverfront Park — the first, and as of now the only, gates closed — and will remain until the river is expected to recede around Wednesday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration marks flood stage in Huntington as any rise above 50 feet and is broken into two categories: “minor” flood stage at 50 to 54.9 feet or “major” flood stage at 55 feet and above, which would be enough to reach the base of the floodwall at Harris Riverfront Park.

The Ohio River normally keeps between 25 to 28 feet near Huntington.

Closing the gates Sunday was a decision based on precaution, as it was seven years ago, and only the bottom half is presently installed. The river is not expected to reach the wall, though a chance of rain locally and upriver may cause that to change.

“You never know how much rain we’re going to get up north, if it’s going to impact us and if it’s going to cause that projected river rise to come up more than what we expect,” said Stan Wonnell, floodwall coordinator for the Huntington Stormwater Utility, as crews installed the 10th Street gates.

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