RAW VIDEO | Mayor Fischer signs executive order declaring Louisville to be in a 'state of emergency'
Calling this month "the wettest February in our history," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is asking for federal dollars to help clean up the city after the weekend floods.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Calling this month "the wettest February in our history," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said he has signed an executive order declaring Louisville to be in a "state of emergency" and has submitted that order Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin.
The news came during a press conference Monday afternoon.
Fischer said such a declaration would open the city up to receiving federal funds from FEMA to repair the damage. He said the threshold of damage for a city to declare an emergency is $2.8 million, and "it looks like we'll easily surpass that $2.8 million."
During the press conference, Fischer praised a number of Louisville agencies and first responders for their response to weekend flooding. He said the Ohio River finally crested at around 1 p.m. Monday afternoon, which was good news, though he admitted Louisville-area residents faced with flooded homes would have a hard time seeing the silver lining.
"Obviously they're not feeling it's working out so well," Fischer said.
MSD officials say that for the first time since 1997, all of Louisville's 16 flood stations are in service, and have pumped out a total of 21 billion gallons in the past few days. Over 1,500 calls came in over the weekend. By comparison, officials say a typical day will see approximately 100 calls.
Fischer and other officials were able to take an aerial tour of the flooding damage over the weekend.
"There is still plenty of water out there. If you're in a car, don't drive through it," he said. "We just encourage everybody to use common sense on this."
Public Works officials say the city will have much to clean up -- particularly on River Road, where they estimate approximately six inches of sand will need to be removed. They say the situation is similar to flooding in 2015, when they had to create a debris-management plan.
Officials say permits are being sought for six different locations to be designated debris drop-off points. Pickups will also be scheduled at various locations. More info will be provided at a later time.
Doug Hamilton, chief of public services, compared the weekend's flooding to previous flooding events in Louisville, including incidents in Aug. 2009, May 2011 and April 2015.
He said the flooding from this weekend differed from the flooding in 1997, in that in 1997, "it was mostly interior flooding," that prompted a lot of rescues.
There wasn't a lot of interior flooding this weekend he said. Instead, he said the major flooding was limited to areas around the river.
"Because of the infrastructure and protections that have come into play…interior flooding is less likely to occur," he explained.
As people prepare to clean up, city officials cautioned them to protect against health factors such as mold, as well as chemical and biological contaminants. Citizens are asked to wear gloves, goggles and boots when taking part in cleanup -- and to wash hands afterward.
Residents are encouraged to obtain additional info from the Centers for Disease Control.
While at the same time offering sympathy for those affected by flooding, Mayor Fischer praised the city's overall response.
"We've been fortunate for this event for everything to work properly," he said.
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