Visitors flock to Cumberland Falls to see roaring river

Published: Feb. 20, 2019 at 5:35 PM EST
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The falls are roaring at Cumberland Falls State Park.

While the WYMT Weather Team is expecting a break in the rain, rivers are still expected to rise.

By Thursday, the Cumberland River crested at 30 feet, nine feet above flood stage and just five feet from a record.

The Williamsburg location is expected to reach minor flood stage at 22.7". That is forecast through Saturday afternoon.

With more rain anticipated, it's likely we will see values even higher towards the weekend.

"The Cumberland River above the falls drains about 2,000 square miles of land and if you figure how much rain they got from the Harlan area and all the way down yeah it can rise quite a bit more," said Bret Smitley at Naturalist at the Cumberland Falls State Park.

Smitley also said the river has been higher in years past, but this type of flow is very rare.

"Probably right now it's running about 20,000 cubic feet per second and if you figure there is 7.5 gallons in a cubic foot of water. So if you multiply 20,000 by 7.5 that's about how many gallons is going over," said Smitley.

That is 150,000 gallons going over the falls per second. Average flow is around 3,000 cubic feet per second.

"It has potential of reaching you know the highest yeah it could get over the sidewalk and that's been up close to 30,000 maybe a week or two ago so it's been higher already," said Smitley.

But despite the rainy day, visitors from around Eastern Kentucky flocked to the falls to see what it was all about.

"Just to see the water, take pictures, yeah take pictures, it's raining too much really," said Charles and Brenda Moore.

Charles and Brenda are from Corbin and like to visit the falls often, but this visit was different for them.

"I just it's something to see. Something you don't usually see," said Charles and Brenda.

A sight many are coming to experience.