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Ice jams causing flooding on Grand, Muskegon River

6:01 PM, Feb 5, 2013   |    comments
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  • An ice jam in Grand Haven, near the draw bridge.
  • High water and ice on in Crockery Township. Photo courtesy of George Heyboer.
    

GRAND HAVEN, Michigan (WZZM) - The freezing and thawing temperatures are causing problems on the Grand and Muskegon rivers.

Ice jams have formed beneath the draw bridge in Grand Haven at U.S. 31 and M-104. With the Grand River still frozen, the jams pose a threat of flooding. The threat of flooding is most serious in Ottawa County's Robinson Township. The ice jams downstream, in Grand Haven, are causing water to back up upstream, in Robinson Township.

The National Weather Service has issued a local state of emergency, which is still is in effect, along the Muskegon River near Big Rapids. Ice dams caused flooding in the area on Wednesday. Authorities say the ice chunks clogged the river near Rogers Heights. The county's emergency manager coordinator says 90 plots of land were flooded in the area. Thirty homes were evacuated. The Muskegon River is receding now. But the danger of sudden flooding isn't over yet. Ice jams and flooding will remain a concern through the weekend.

The Red Cross has been helping Mecosta County families displaced with flooding. The agency has closed its emergency shelter and is now referring people who still can't get in their homes to other agencies that can provide long-term assistance.

Below is a news release from the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office:

The Ottawa County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Management and the Grand Rapids National Weather Service are closely monitoring the level of the Grand River at Robinson Township due to an ice jam on the river in Grand Haven.

The river levels have risen significantly over the last 24 hours at Robinson Township. Yesterday saw an 11.9 level in the morning that rose to a level of 12.2 by mid-afternoon. By evening the level had risen to 12.5 and a flood warning was issued. By early this morning the levels had risen beyond flood stage to 13.5.

The Sheriff's Office of Emergency Management is in contact with township and city officials, alerting them to the rising river levels.

At this time the ice seems to be filling in downstream while river levels upstream are falling. This could have a positive effect on the situation, stabilizing the affected area. When the flooding in this area happened before, river levels upstream were rising, the opposite of what is occurring right now.

If residents along the river experience flooding issues they are requested to call their local jurisdiction (town hall) to report this. If there is an immediate threat for life safety they should call 9-1-1.

The Ottawa County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Management will continue to monitor the river throughout the winter.

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