Minor flooding projected in Bell County

Published 4:30 pm Friday, February 22, 2019

Rain has been a mainstay in the region this week with more projected to be on the way through Saturday evening. With the potential for storms and heavy downpours, flooding has become a concern for those in the Bell County Emergency Management department.

Emergency Management Director Ben Barnett believes that flooding could be an issue if heavy rain begins to fall on Saturday.

“Right now, we are experiencing minor flooding — just basically stopped up tiles and ditches. As it continues to rain, we’re expecting things to get worse,” said Barnett. “We’re really keeping an eye out on (Saturday) morning. They’re kind of expecting some thunderstorms and things to roll in. If we get an inch dropped on us pretty quick under a couple of storms, it’s going to cause some problems.”

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The threat of flooding is county-wide when it comes to flash flooding. When it comes to river flooding, Barnett said Dorton Branch, Straight Creek, KY 92 toward Greasy Creek, Fourmile and Pineville could experience the worst of it.

“As always, we are closely monitoring the weather and are prepared to deal with any aftermath that may occur,” said Bell County Judge-Executive Albey Brock. “But, it’s very important that people use good judgment and be careful during inclement weather conditions.”

While there are some concerns with the potential for flash flooding, Barnett said he isn’t expecting a major flood. He said while the rain has been nonstop, it isn’t coming down at a fast enough rate to cause major flooding.

“(Heavy rain) is kind of what it takes to get up quite a bit. It takes a lot more rain sustained at a rate higher,” said Barnett. “We’re thinking it’s what they consider a minor flood stage on the Cumberland River. Probably the biggest threat right now is flash flooding. If we get quite a bit of rain dropped on us all of sudden, as wet as the ground is, it won’t take a whole lot to cause us problems.”

The National Weather Services issued a Flash Flood Watch for Bell County on Friday that extends until 7 a.m. on Sunday.