Wednesday, April 11, 2007

What Happens in the North End Should the Wolf Creek Dam Break?

The Army Corps of Engineers has put "Inundation Maps" on line for viewing by those who might be affected by floods from a catastrophic failure in the already seeping Wolf Creek Dam in Kentucky. Above is a screen shot I took of the possible inundation of sections of the North End (red, blue, and green overlays represent various degrees of flood inundation, +/- 15').

Obviously, those who live in the North End would be directly affected by flooding, being so close to the Cumberland River. It looks like a close call for our property in a worst case scenario; flood waters would at least come up to our front yard if not farther (it's hard to tell precisely from the map). We wouldn't be obviously free and clear, especially at plus-or-minus 5 yards of water.

What is most troubling is that a less than worst case scenario would have the Central Wastewater Treatment Center (north of East Germantown) inundated. That conjures up images of tons of sewage being carried wherever flood waters went. I do not know if Metro Water has emergency contingency plans to lock down or secure wastewater, but I would not be surprised if they did not.

In another Corps map to the south, flood waters inundate all of the Bicentennial Mall area up to the base of Capitol Hill (a picture of 1937 flooding in that area can be viewed after the jump). They also cover large parts of Hope Gardens, backing up all the way to Marathon Village and Watkins Park. According to the maps, flood waters would arrive in the North End 30-31 hours after any catastrophic event at Wolf Creek Dam. Let's hope we never actually have to face that scenario.

1 comment:

  1. Both anonymous spelling-monitor snark and two offending letters removed. Despite my error above, "sewerage" would not exactly be incorrect since it is a word that means the system that carries "sewage" and, in a flood, parts of the system would probably be carried around by inundation. However, it was not what I intended.