Update: As of 4 p.m. Thursday, the Cumberland River was at 27.69 feet. New estimates from the National Weather Service project the river cresting at 33 feet at 7 a.m. Saturday. 32 feet is considered major flood stage. This would make the flood the sixth highest in the recorded history of Williamsburg.
The highest flood in town history was recorded at 35.03 feet on April 7, 1977.
Water would go over the top of the floodwall and levy at 39.4 feet, and a full evacuation of the downtown Williamsburg area would be necessary at 37 feet.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet announced about 4:30 p.m. Thursday that a portion of US25W from mile points 0.0 – 2.0 will be closed until further notice due to high water.
Flood waters stretched across Whitley County Thursday as recent rains swelled the Cumberland River and local streams and tributaries.
As of midnight Wednesday, flood waters had blocked George Hays Road, Penny Lane, Briar Creek Park, a section of Highland Park Drive, and a portion of North Sixth Street near Florence Avenue, according to a Williamsburg Reach Alert.
Recent rains caused a mudslide on the shoulder of southbound I-75 near the two-mile marker, which has reduced traffic to one lane in order to conduct clean-up work. It is expected to reopen at 8 p.m. Thursday, according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
Transportation officials are also dealing with a slide on KY 628 at mile point 4.8 in Whitley County that is expected to keep traffic reduced to one lane until 5 p.m. Friday. Ky. 92E is also expected to be reduced to one lane until 5 p.m. Friday for slide repair operations from mile point 21.926 (Lawson Bend Road) to mile point 22.926 (Reynolds Hill Drive), according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
Flooding is also being reported at multiple locations throughout rural Whitley County.
The Whitley County School District has cancelled classes on Friday due to high water.
As of 1 p.m. Thursday, the Cumberland River was at 26.69 feet in Williamsburg, according to the National Weather Service. This places the river near moderate flood stage, which is 27.5 feet.
The News Journal will provide more updates as they become available.