Flood events are nothing new for those who live along the Kentucky River, but 2021 is at the top of the list. After days of ice storms and a week of heavy rains, the river approached record levels. From Beattyville where the downtown was under two feet or more of water to Frankfort where a detached marina crashed into the “Singing” Bridge, stark images were all over the news. Reporters relied on small boats to get through towns to secure images of the event. Destruction of houses and businesses was everywhere on the local/national news and newspapers. Andy Beshear, Governor of Kentucky, travelled up and down the river to reassure residents that he would seek federal assistance to rebuild and do whatever else possible to help out. On a different note, one river enthusiast sought to demonstrate the magnitude of the flooding and put a sense of humor to the whole thing. He paddled into Hall’s On The River, a popular restaurant near Boonesboro Beach, and had a picture of him taken while in his kayak at the bar. There will be debates about whether the river crested at the highest or second highest, but one long-time resident and authority on the river, Captain David Shearer, says this was higher and bigger than 1978. “I was there in 1978 and this was clearly number one.”
It is important to note that the river crest at different levels at up and down the river. The hydrograph and high crest levels information comes from water levels at Boonesboro Beach (Lock and Dam 10) where the river forms a boundary between Clark and Madison counties; Richmond KY and Winchester KY are the county seats. You will also find some pictures below--taken by your Kentucky Riverkeeper and her trusty crew. These images will not convey the level of destruction and loss suffered by so many, but they might help.
A new Dam 10 at Boonesboro is under construction. This is a picture from mid December 2020.
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