Tomorrow, Saturday, April 18, is Thunder Over Louisville! This officially marks the start of the Kentucky Derby Festival. There are hundreds of thousands of people who come to Louisville and Southern Indiana to watch the air show and fireworks. Dozens of them will be watching these events on the rising Ohio River.
Bad flooding in Louisville, Kentucky
We’ve gotten a lot of rain here in the Louisville area. This has led to flooding in many areas. Fortunately, local and federal agencies have been preparing for potentially hazardous conditions during this event. They are going to have 30 boats patrolling the river, which is more than in years past. That way, if there is an emergency on the water, emergency crews will be able to help. It is also worth noting that the Ohio River was at its worst for Thunder 2011 when it hit 22.2 feet above flood stage.
Matt Gibson, Vice President of Events for the Kentucky Derby Festival, said that crews are applying what they learned from the 2011 flooding, which complicated things for those watching the annual air show and fireworks. He added that they are better prepared this year. Moreover, U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Kate Cameron stated that going out on the water in your boat is just like going down the road in your car. There is always going to be a certain level of danger. If you’re planning on going out on your boat for Thunder, please make sure your boat is in good working condition. There is going to be more debris in the river than normal, so please be mindful of where you are going and anchor.
Watching Thunder from Waterfront Park
The Louisville Metro Police released their traffic and security plan for tomorrow’s event. Streets were already closed for Thunder, including the Clark Memorial Bridge, on Thursday. However, pedestrians and bikers may still cross the bridge with a police escort. Traffic will also be rerouted through some high-congestion zone. Please have a parking and route plan so you can get home safely.
Items that you may not bring to Thunder
No matter where you plan on watching Thunder Over Louisville, remember that your safety is top priority. Please review the guidelines from our law enforcement agencies and officers. Also, here are some items that are not allowed at Thunder:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Bikes, skateboards or skates
- Tents or canopies
- Rope, tape or pennant lines
As a Kentucky Accident Attorney, I advise boaters and pedestrians to be careful this Saturday. It is important to be safe while having fun. The Ohio River is forecasted to rise to near 23.9 feet by early Saturday morning. If you decide to go out on the water, make sure to wear life jackets, especially your children under 13, not to drink alcohol while on your boats and check your safety equipment. If you’re going to Waterfront Park, please know that it is going to be more crowded this year due to the high water levels. This makes it extremely important for you to be patient and talk about meeting areas in case you get separated from your kids. Please keep these tips in mind, and have a great time at Thunder!