Local residents received some welcome news this week when it was confirmed that two new flood warning gauges will be installed on the Ohio and Muskingum rivers by the end of this year.
The specialized gauges will provide comprehensive velocity, height, flow and other data about river conditions above Marietta.
One gauge will be installed at Hannibal on the Ohio River, and the other on the Muskingum River at Beverly.
Total cost of the flood warning system gauges project is $540,000. The Muskingum River Conservancy District and U.S. Geological Survey are covering the cost. Local entities, including Washington County and the city of Marietta, will share in the maintenance and operational costs.
It's a win-win situation for all involved. Flooding in recent years made it even more apparent that better monitoring was needed, particularly to the north and along the Muskingum. We can all rest a little easier knowing that once these gauges are in place, residents and first responders will have an even clearer weather picture than they did before.
And with a potentially major storm in the not-so-distant forecast, it's a vivid reminder that severe weather and flooding can happen right here, any time. The more we know, and the sooner we know it, the better prepared we can be.