Warm up, melting snow causing concerns over flooding

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. (WZZM) -- Slow and steady, that's how some Kent County residents are hoping the snow melts in the coming weeks. If it melts all at once with some added rain, that could lead to a second year in a row of major flooding.

There are countless images of the momentous height snow piles have reached and with such immense weight that they've caused roofs to collapse. Soon, all the snow built up will melt down. Some believe drops of water could be an ominous sign of what's to come.

"We're kind of hoping it melts a little bit, freezes, melts a little bit and refreezes, so that we don't get the flood we just had," says Geoff Kabasa, a Comstock Park resident.

Kabasa is referring to last year's historic flooding in West Michigan and specifically along the Abrigador Trail. He and his girlfriend Patricia Dockham were forced into their self-made emergency shelter.

"Wondering each day how much farther it was going to come up," says Dockham.

"Stayed in there for 8 days until the water went down enough to start doing clean up," says Kabasa.

Right now, there's about two feet of snow on the ground around West Michigan, which equals about two to four inches of water. Residents say winter flooding comes with its own challenges.

"If you have the ice that forms on the top of the flood then you cant just walk out," says Dockham. "It's not just a matter of simply putting on your waders and walking out you have to beat your way out with a stick."

Douglas Sporte, Kent County's deputy drain commissioner is hoping residents will help him, help them. The goal is to make sure drains are clear.

"If that's all covered with ice and snow, the water that melts from the snow no matter how slow or fast it goes won't go away," says Sporte.

After 19 years battling floods, Kabasa has learned to expect the unexpected.

"For the first few years when the floods would come, the smaller floods , it's exciting to look what's going on, and now it's like oh come on, hold on," says Kabasa.

Kabasa says he doesn't usually prepare for flooding until he gets an official warning, because he says otherwise he'd be preparing all the time.


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