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Flooding Take 2: High waters impact some major road segments

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May already near 5 inches of rain

By Amber Coulter

It has been a difficult week for employees at Wayne’s Tire Center on Hawkins Drive in Elizabethtown.

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Last Wednesday, employees were moving a truck further up the business’ parking lot throughout the day to measure the water creeping up from Hawkins Drive.

With Hardin and its neighboring counties under a flood warning and water climbing Tuesday on Hawkins Drive, the business was closed.

The Kentucky Mesonet station in Cecilia indicated that the area received 1.65 inches between midnight and 5 p.m. Tuesday. Most of the rain fell overnight during a steady deluge. That follows more than 3 inches the first two days of May and a record rainfall in April of 16.72 inches.

Even after a few sunny days late last week, owner Wayne Borders said his business was closed because water had gotten into the garage and cars couldn’t get in.

“It’s just one of those things that’s never done,” he said.

Since Wednesday, it has been hard to draw customers because only a small section of gravel-covered road allowed access to the garage. After that was covered, cars couldn’t get in or out.
Borders said he was glad there were no injuries from the high water, although there was damage to a computer on the floor of his business.
He hoped waters receding Tuesday meant business could resume today.

A boil water advisory was issued Tuesday for part of Hardin County Water District No. 1 in Radcliff. On South Wilson Road between Shelton Road and Nalls Lane and any roads off South Wilson between Shelton and Nalls are under the advisory.

The Elizabethtown Fire Department station 2 on East Dixie Avenue also had flooding issues as about an inch of water flowed into the bay where fire trucks are kept and some seeped into the living quarters.

The company remained there to protect that end of town with plans to leave if the water got much higher, said Mark Malone, battalion chief for the Elizabethtown Fire Department.

Malone said firefighters spent most of Tuesday morning making sure motorists kept away from places where water had come above roads.

Rising water levels prompted the Department of Highways to close U.S. 31W for a majority of Tuesday in the southern portion of Elizabethtown. Running water over the roadway made travel impossible along East Dixie Avenue near the Interstate 65-Western Kentucky Parkway overpasses.

Officials barricaded sections of road were the water rose too high, including 10 state road sections in the county.

They had turned on pumps during the weekend to keep water off roads, but Monday night’s rain was more than the pumps could handle, said Chris Jessie, information officer for the Elizabethtown District of the Kentucky Transportation Department.

Water going over U.S. 31W was especially problematic because there’s no way to tell when it will recede, Jessie said.

“You can’t talk to anyone who has ever seen anything like this before,” he said.

Area school systems in LaRue and Nelson counties canceled Tuesday classes because flooding made some primary roads impassible.

John Wright, community relations director for Hardin County Schools, said some buses locally had to be rerouted Tuesday morning to avoid high water, especially in the southern part of the county.

Absences and tardiness from parents not being able to meet rerouted buses or get students to school were excused, he said. Parents shouldn’t take any risks when they think conditions are unsafe, Wright said.

“We just want people to understand that safety is always first,” he said.

The American Red Cross at 405 W. Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown, is accepting monetary donations in person or by mail to help flood victims.

Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or acoulter@thenewsenterprise.com.