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Keeping an "e" eye on the river

March 18, 2008 - Art Smith
Floods are a way of life in Marietta.

Having lived in the Marietta area since the early 1970s I've seen my share of "high water." In high school I rowed on the crew team and I remember  having to carry the boats to higher ground. Back then the higher ground that we used was the gym at the middle school.

Apparently preparing for a flood of Biblical depths, we carried the shells from Gilman Street all the way up Putnam to the hill top school.  Safe to say it was a workout without a practice.

Knowing the exact "stage" of the river in those days was not an exacting science. A drive to the river gauge at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers was the most popular way of finding the exact depth. A steady stream of cars could be found checking out the how high the water had gotten.

Recent rains have caused the rivers to get very close to flooding some areas around Marietta. In McConnelsville the gauge showed the Muskingum just below flood stage late Tuesday night.

Residents no longer have to get in their cars and drive down to the "point."

A number of automated river gauges are now in place and they can all be checked by anyone with internet access.

Gauges operated by NOAA not only indicate the river level at Marietta, but also at other area locations such as Parkersburg and the Muskingum River at McConnelsville. The gauges allow officials to better plan for floods, and they also residents to know about, and react to, high water that may endanger their property.


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