NewsCovering Kentucky


Flood Gates Keeping Barbourville Dry Amidst Heavy Rain

Posted at 10:18 PM, Feb 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-23 22:18:12-05

KNOX COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18 ) – People in Knox County are keeping a close eye on the Cumberland River this weekend.

All the recent rain has water levels rising, and folks are relying on 30-year-old flood gates to keep Barbourville dry.

“It takes probably around a 40 foot flood to start getting into some of the houses,” said Todd Owens with Knox County Emergency Management Director.

That’s a whole lot more water than Barbourville is expecting to get – but that doesn’t mean people won’t be on alert.

“We had a flood last February which is going to be about 7 feet higher than this one is going to crest and we only had to sandbag one house so we don’t anticipate anything like that,” said Owens.

The flood wall was built after a devastating flood in 1977. Luckily, Owens says it has never had to be closed since it was built.

”For the most part I guess over the years we’ve learned to built up out of the flood waters,” said Owens.

Barbourville may be prepared for floods but the high winds that are coming in are a different story

“Our main concern is the winds tonight because everything is so saturated so we are trying to keep up with the wind speeds because of trees and powerlines because we are hoping not to deal with that,” said Owens.