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Ohio River at Huntington past crest, but still running high

The rainfall that has affected our region so far this February hasn't been just isolated. It's been widespread and excessive. Thanks to our Appalachian Mountains, all of this water has drained north and west into the Ohio River, which resulted in widespread flooding along the main stem and some of the feeder streams. (WCHS/WVAH)

It was warm and windy Tuesday in the River City.

But that wasn't enough to keep our flight gurus, Bennet Siffrin and Paul Nagy with the Eyewitness News SkyTeam, from launching our new drone up to take a look behind the floodwall in Huntington.

Although the Ohio River crested or reached its highest point Monday in Huntington - roughly 3 feet above flood stage - our drone clearly revealed that Harris Riverfront Park was still under some water on Tuesday.

Looking upstream, where the water is gradually falling, the river was still running high, swift and muddy.

Natives of the city said it's not a surprise to see the water up occasionally, but it's pretty rare to see the flood walls closed off.

"It's pretty crazy. We've been getting a lot of rain lately, and all of the runoff and stuff. It's really starting to bring up the water levels", said Ryan Watts, a lifetime Huntington resident.

How much rain? We're not even officially to three weeks in February yet, and several areas in the state have already received 6 inches of rain. A normal amount is 3.2 inches for the entire month.

The rainfall has been widespread, falling mainly west of the Eastern Continental Divide. This means all of that rain has drained into the Ohio River, which forms in Pittsburgh and flows all the way to Southern Illinois to meet the Mississippi River.

"It's only been like one other time in my whole life that I’ve seen it this high," Watts said.

This clearly explains why the Ohio River, even several days after the rain stopped, is just now moving past crest in our region. On Tuesday evening, the highest water was expected to be heading out of the area and further downstream toward Maysville and Cincinnati.

Unfortunately, though, the high water may be back, as our weather models suggest another drenching of rain possible late this week and into the weekend.

The Eyewitness News Storm Team and the SkyTeam will keep a close eye on it, both on the ground and also high up above.

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