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Flood Inundation Maps - Frankfort, Kentucky

Flood-Inundation Maps for a 6.5-Mile Reach of the Kentucky River at Frankfort, Kentucky

The City of Frankfort, Kentucky, is an urban community with an estimated population of 27,590 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012). Frankfort, the capital of Kentucky, is located within a sharp bend of the Kentucky River. The Kentucky River flows through the heart of Frankfort, splitting the city into a northern and southern part. Frankfort's location and low-lying flood plains make the city susceptible to flooding. According to the flood categories established by the National Weather Service, the City of Frankfort has experienced approximately 58 flood events within the last 100 years, most notably in 1978.

The Kentucky River is a tributary of the Ohio River. The headwaters originate in the Cumberland Mountains of southeast Kentucky, and the river flows generally northwestward for approximately 250 mi through the heart of Kentucky before entering the Ohio River. The reach studied is in north-central Kentucky in what is locally called the Bluegrass Region. The drainage area ranges from 5,411 square miles (mi2) at station 03287500 to 6,950 mi2 at the confluence of the Ohio River. No major tributary to the Kentucky River joins the main stem as it flows through Frankfort, but there are a few minor tributaries; among these is Benson Creek, which joins the main stem south of Frankfort and approximately 300 feet (ft) downstream of station 03287500. The basin terrain changes gradually from steep to rolling hills adjacent to the city to low-lying and flat areas within the city. The study reach is approximately 6.5 mi long, has an average top-of-bank channel width of about 400 ft, and has an average channel slope of 1 foot per mile. The basin is still undergoing suburban and urban development; population increased 1.2 percent (from 27,269 to 27,590) between 2010 and 2012 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012). The main channel within the study reach has six major road crossings or other structures that lie within the channel or the adjacent flood plain, as well as a low-flow navigational dam (Lock and Dam 4) approximately 0.8 mi downstream of station 03287500. The City of Frankfort also has a Flood Protection System made up of levees, floodwalls, and pumping stations that protect Frankfort.

Digital flood-inundation maps for a 6.5-mile reach of Kentucky River at Frankfort, Kentucky, were created by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the City of Frankfort Office of Emergency Management.

The inundation maps, available through the USGS Flood Inundation Mapping Science Web site, depict estimates of the areal extent and depth of flooding corresponding to selected water levels (stages) at the USGS streamgage Kentucky River at Lock 4 at Frankfort, Kentucky and include HAZUS , a tool used to to estimate physical, economic, and social impacts of disasters; HAZUS is used for mitigation and recovery as well as preparedness and response.

In addition, the information has been provided to the National Weather Service (NWS) for incorporation into their Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) flood warning system. The NWS forecasts flood hydrographs at many places that are often colocated at USGS streamgages. The forecasted peak-stage information, also available on the Internet, may be used in conjunction with the maps developed in this study to show predicted areas of flood inundation.

The availability of these maps, along with Internet information regarding current stages from USGS streamgages and forecasted stages from the NWS, provides emergency management personnel and local residents with critical information for flood response activities such as evacuations, road closures, and postflood recovery efforts.

Flood-Inundation Maps for a 6.5-Mile Reach of the Kentucky River at Frankfort, Kentucky [U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3278, 26 sheets, 10-p. pamphlet]

U.S. Geological Survey Flood Inundation Mapping Science

US Geological Survey Flood Inundation Mapper

map of Frankfort, KY depicting flooding

Flood-inundation map for Frankfort, Kentucky, corresponding to a stage of 52.00 feet and an elevation of 513.38 feet (NAVD 88) at U.S. Geological Survey streamgage number 03287500 Kentucky River at Lock 4 at Frankfort, Kentucky. [Click to view larger image]

Selected USGS Streamgages on the Kentucky River and/or near Frankfort, Kentucky

Additional information about the Frankfort Flood Inundation project can be obtained from Jeremiah Lant, US Geological Survey, Kentucky Water Science Center, (phone) 502-493-1949, (email)

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Page Last Modified: Monday, January 27, 2014 3:46 PM