Rising waters force area road closures; believed to have claimed one life
Barlow - Saturday’s deluge, which brought with it flash-flooding, that likely claimed the life of one Ballard resident, brought plenty of road closures as hazardous conditions worsened throughout the day.
As the entire county was on high alert as heavy rains made their way through the region, it seemed most people heeded the warnings from Ballard County Emergency Management Director Travis Holder to stay home. Those who did venture out, did so with the cautionary advice from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 1’s Keith Todd to monitor weather conditions closely and be aware of changing water levels.
According to the U.S. National Weather Service at Paducah, December 21st saw a record rainfall at 5.26". The old record was 3.05” in 1984. This was the greatest single-day rainfall for December since the record of 4.65" was set on December 3, 1982.
Due to rising waters, West McCracken and Ballard Counties reportedly saw the most road closures. Ballard roads which were deemed impassable as of Saturday night at 7 p.m. included: Hinkleville Road, Tabor Road, Stafford Road, Brooking Road, Kelly Branch Road, Holloway Landing Road, Oldham Road, Leasetown Road, Turner Landing Road, Bethehem Church Road, Wayside Road, J. Johnson Road, Bandana Road, Gibson Road, Fondaw Road, and Ingleside Road.
Reports came into the National Weather Service at Paducah regarding severe instances of flooding in the county. Water over Bandana Road at Clayton Creek was estimated to be over 2 feet deep; only the top of the bridge was visible.
Shortly after 8:30 p.m. a report came in indicating 3 feet of water over Refuge Road in Monkey’s Eyebrow, and another report claimed La Center had received over 9” of water as of 8:41 p.m.
With so much water covering the roadways so quickly,many Ballard County residents found themselves in situations they had not anticipated. Eric and Lori Ann Oldham of Barlow were among those affected by high waters.
Upon returning from a trip to the grocery store, the pair was amazed at the amount of water in their yard. What was usually a small, dry creek had become an impassable lake. Also, the road leading to their home was under water. Their road was one on the list of impassable roads.
Lori Ann said she had never seen the water up so much. Since they couldn’t get their car up the driveway, they ended up parking at Eric’s garage across the creek and driving a 4-wheel utility vehicle through the water.
Although inconvenienced, the Oldham’s were certainly among those in Ballard County that paid close attention to the warning: “Turn Around; Don’t Drown.”