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Residents compare 1986 flood to 2013

6:37 AM, Apr 22, 2013   |    comments
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  • Flooding in Belmont along West River Drive: April 21, 2013
  • Comparing flood waters from 1986 to 2013 in Belmont
    

BELMONT, Mich. (WZZM) --  One of the areas hardest hit by this flooding isn't immune to high waters.

But residents along West River Drive have never seen their homes basically swallowed by the Grand River.

Andy Raeside knows 1986 so well, he can point to the spot in his backyard where the river crested.

"This is the bottom of the hill here. This is where it came back in '86 and stopped here," he said.

Sunday, the Grand River still hadn't stopped creeping towards his Belmont home along West River Drive.

"I'm getting a cramp in my legs from filling up the sandbags," he said. "This is the first time I've ever had to sandbag, ever."

Raeside took us out on a canoe to see the devestation. Many homes had water half-way up the front doors.

"It didn't even look like this in 1986 when we were out here," he said.

That was the year of "The Flood," the unexpected eight-plus inches of in one day that caused $500 million in damage across Michigan. Raeside has had more time to prepare for this one.

But sandbags wouldn't even help his neighbors just a street down, and Raeside says the scene across the river is more heartbreaking.

"Just a big swamp back in there," he said.

Back at his house, he and his wife are busy pumping and pushing out their own swamp.

Much of the basement water is now gone.

"That thing's been going 24/7," he said of his subpump.

"My wife said it was a good time to clean the house, we might as well do it. We even got the basement floors cleaned for free," he said.

They used that opportunity to give away old junk for free.
You'll probably see the "Free Stuff" sign along side the road, if you're a gawker.

"Now I actually know what it feels like to be an animal in the zoo. The way cars go by, everybody has their cameras, he said.

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