(LEX 18) — Emergency personnel across the state have had a busy week responding to reports of high water and road-blocking mudslides, and with more rain in the forecast conditions are expected only to get worse.
By late morning Saturday, the National Weather Service had issued a flood warning for southern counties along the Interstate Highway 75 corridor until 10 p.m. Officials were warning motorists everywhere watch conditions and never to drive through a flooded section of roadway.
The weekend was set to be historic at Wolf Creek Dam, as managers planned to increase releases of water with potential flooding in low-lying areas downstream. The water already is pouring out fast, drawing crowds of onlookers.
The water level at Lake Cumberland is at 748 feet, close to the record of 751 feet set in 1984.
As of Friday, all 10 spillway gates at Wolf Creek Dam were open.
Officials said the dam was discharging water at a rate of 36,000 cubic feet per second. But water managers plan to step that up to 45,000 cubic feet per second next week, which would be a record.
People visiting the dam said they had never seen anything like it.
“We just drove 130 miles to look at it, and I got some video of it that I’m going to show my son,” said Randy Asher, who came in from Leslie County. “The water, the discharge is just unreal. I’ve been coming down here since I was 14 and I’m 56 right now.”
The forecast has prompted campers along a rising Elkhorn Creek in Frankfort to pack up.
The 20 residential campers at the surrounding campground were to be out by afternoon Saturday, and it could be two weeks before they’re able to return.
“A lot of these people, like I say, they have no where else to go,” said resident Randall Durham. “So this is it.”
Some residents have been through this before and say it’s just the way it is when you live near Elkhorn Creek.
“They say the waters coming up, you got to move,” said Durham. “It’s just a learning experience. You live by the water, you’re going to have to move.”
Many of the campers are equipped with heaters, but others will have to go without electricity or running water.