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Flooding on the Ohio River closes roads, restaurants

School in Cincinnati relocates

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The Ohio River floods under the Third Street exit ramp from I-64 in downtown Louisville, Ky., during rush hour Thursday.

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CINCINNATI — Flooding along the Ohio River forced a school to relocate and employees at an amusement park to pack up on Thursday, and led to the closings of several roads, a horse racing track, and riverfront restaurants.

Southern Ohio braced for days of flooding as the National Weather Service said the river was 2 feet above the 52-foot flood level and expected to top 56 feet this weekend. Some drizzling rain added to more than an inch that fell Wednesday in the Cincinnati area after several earlier rains in the past week.

Cincinnati school officials closed the K-12 Riverview East Academy on Thursday and planned to bus students to a former elementary school for Friday classes. It was the first time the school has had to close or relocate for river conditions since it opened in 2006.

Other low-lying areas east of the city were flooding, closing several roads and shutting down River Downs race track.

At Coney Island Amusement Park, some 40 staffers and other workers moved equipment such as ride motors and controllers into two-story buildings and a tractor-trailer, said Vic Nolting, president of Coney Island Inc. Picnic tables and other items were being tied down to keep them from floating away. The Sunlite Pool was flooding, along with riverside show venues.

Staffers were ready to take files and other office materials with them.

"We work all the way until the end," said Nolting. The park's first big event of the season will be the Appalachian Festival in early May

"If the projection of 56 feet holds, it'll be an aggravating flood, but not one that will create havoc for us," he said.

Meanwhile, just across the river in northern Kentucky, popular on-the-water restaurants including Hooters and the Beer Sellar closed as parking lots flooded.

Swollen rivers and creeks were reported across Ohio.

In northeast Ohio, the National Park Service closed the Ohio&Erie Canal Towpath Trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Weekend excursions aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad were postponed, including Friday's "Ales on the Rails" beer tasting.

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