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As of January 8th, area rivers, drains, streams, creeks, and lakes are still recovering from the heavy rain that fell in late December. The Muskegon River near Croton is currently 1.5 feet higher than the 24 year daily median height. In addition, soils remain saturated and ground absorption is extremely limited.

 

It is looking increasingly likely that Lower Michigan will see several rounds of heavy rain late this week and this weekend. Recent forecast trends suggest at least 2 inches of rain is likely across virtually all the Grand and Kalamazoo River basins, as well as much of the Muskegon River basin. As much as 3 inches of rain is possible. Per the NWS Hydrologist, this has the potential to send many of our rivers higher than they have been at any point in the last 1-2 years.

 

There are still a lot of unknowns as to where the warm side of the storm system vs the cold side of the storm system will set up. Some of the rain in our area could fall as snow/sleet/freezing rain, which makes a big difference on the effect this has on the river levels.

 

WHAT IS HAPPENING NOW

People living in flood prone locations should monitor forecasts this week on this developing hazardous weather situation. Now is the time to think about preparedness and plan for impacts in the event the heavy rainfall and flooding materialize. Significantly rising rivers and flooding is possible through next week.

 

Three USGS River Gauges are used to determine the river levels.  As of 3:30 pm, the Muskegon River near

  • USGS Croton Streamgage was at 6.94 feet with flows at 3,700 cubic feet per second. Flood stage is at 9.0 feet.
  • USGS Newaygo Streamgage was at 9.36 feet with flows at 3,890 cubic feet per second. Flood stage is at 11.0 feet.
  • USGS Bridgeton Streamgage was at 10.76 feet with flows at 3,990 cubic feet per second. Flood stage is at 13.0 feet.  

 WHAT TO EXPECT

  • The National Weather Service Office may issue a Flood Watch when conditions are favorable for flooding to occur. This typically takes place within a day or two before the event if river levels are forecasted to reach or exceed flood stage.
  • The National Weather Service Office will issue a Flood Warning when river levels are approaching and likely to exceed flood stage. This occurs at 9.0 feet at the Croton Gage, 11.0 feet at the Newaygo gage, and 13.0 feet at the Bridgeton gage.
  • All River Access Sites will close when the river reaches 10.0 feet at the Croton Gage, 12.0 feet at the Newaygo gage, and 14.0 feet at the Bridgeton gage.

PREPARE NOW IF YOU LIVE WITHIN THE AREA IMPACTED! 
Watch for rapidly changing water levels. Don’t wait for an evacuation directive if you feel threatened. Residents within the areas anticipated to be impacted by flood waters may be directed to by public safety personnel to evacuate if a Flood Warning is issued.
 
Follow these checklists (if time allows) to give you and your home the best chance of surviving a flood.
Inside the House

  • Shut and lock all windows and doors.
  • Gather and elevate important documents, belongings, furniture, and other priceless items including pictures, irreplaceable mementos, and other valuables. 
  • Check your emergency preparedness kit and store supplies so you can grab them quickly if you need to evacuate. This includes prescription medications.
  • Prepare to unplug appliances and turn off your main breaker in your homes electrical box if you need to evacuate.

 Outside

  • Gather up items from the exterior of the house and bring them inside (patio furniture, children’s toys, door mats, trash cans, grills, etc.).
  • Strap down propane tanks.
  • Prepare to turn off propane tanks if you need to evacuate.
  • Put your Emergency Supply Kit in your vehicle.
  • Back your car into the driveway with vehicle loaded and all doors and windows closed. Carry your car keys with you.
  • Don’t wait for an evacuation directive if you feel threatened.
  • Check on neighbors and make sure they are preparing to leave.

 Animals

  • Locate your pets and keep them nearby.
  • Check your emergency preparedness kit for your pets and store supplies so you can grab them quickly if you need to evacuate.
  • If you need to evacuate, take your pets with you.

 FLOODING SAFETY

  • Turn Around, Don’t Drown! ®
  • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.
  • Do not drive over bridges that are over fast-moving floodwaters. Floodwaters can scour foundation material from around the footings and make the bridge unstable.
  • Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground.
  • If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Do not leave the car and enter moving water.

 COMMUNITY INFORMATION

  • ONLY CALL 9-1-1 TO REPORT EMERGENCIES!   Emergency operators and phone lines are needed to support this incident, please continue to monitor Nixle for updates or call 2-1-1 (not 9-1-1) for general safety information.
  • ADDITIONAL INFORMATION WILL BE RELEASED!   Continue monitoring your radio, Nixle, and Newaygo ES’s Facebook Page for additional information.
  • THANK YOU FOR YOUR COOPERATION!

There are still a lot of unknowns as to where the warm side of the storm system vs the cold side of the storm system will set up. Some of the rain in our area could fall as snow/sleet/freezing rain, which makes a big difference on the effect this has on the river levels.

 

Newaygo County Emergency Services is coordinating with Consumers Energy and the National Weather Service Grand Rapids Office to actively monitor the changing conditions and communicate information out to residences impacted by the rising floodwaters. As the situation changes, additional information will be released by Newaygo County Emergency Operations Center utilizing Nixle.

     

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