NWS: Muskegon River to stay over flood stage for days

NEWAYGO COUNTY, Mich. (WOOD) –The National Weather Service says the Muskegon River is likely to remain above flood stage through the rest of the week, and perhaps until next Wednesday.

The river is expected to crest in Muskegon County late Tuesday or early Wednesday, the NWS said.

Tuesday, Muskegon County Emergency Management asked residents who live in the flooding Muskegon River Basin to evacuate.

Water over Boyne Road in Muskegon County. (April 15, 2014)
(Water over Boyne Road in Muskegon County. April 15, 2014)

“This is a dangerous situation and cannot be underestimated,” a release from Muskegon County Emergency Management says.

Muskegon County authorities say people who do not have a place to go should go to the Egelston Township Fire Department located at 5380 E. Apple Ave. for instructions. Residents who leave their homes are asked to call Consumers Energy at 231.724.8819 to have their power shut off.

Muskegon County resident Matt Belknap said he has seen the river rising over the past few days, but saw the most dramatic increase Tuesday.

“That water was back about 10 feet, so it raised a lot in about 8 hours,” he said.

Water was four or five feet deep behind his home Tuesday evening, but hadn’t reached his house. He had two pumps, a generator and more than 100 sandbags prepared in case the water gets too close to his home and starts to flood his basement.

The Muskegon River was expected to crest in Newaygo County sometime Tuesday, according to NWS hydrologist Mark Walton. In the morning, the river level was measured manually at 13.1 feet, according to Newaygo County officials. Just before 2 p.m., a broken measuring gauge at Croton Dam was repaired, and the river level measured at 12.88 feet, officials said. Flood stage is 9 feet.

The view from above as the Muskegon River floods in Newaygo County. (April 14. 2014)
(The Muskegon River. April 14. 2014)

Inside woodtv.com: River levels

Monday, officials in Newaygo County asked residents living along the river below the dam to evacuate their homes due to the rising waters.

Newaygo County Emergency Services officials say they fear the flood could be the worst the area has seen since at least the mid-1990s, and that some 250 homes in the flood plain could be in danger.

“Please heed our warnings. This is a very unsafe situation,” Newaygo County Emergency Manager Abby Watkins said Tuesday. “If you have not already evacuated, we cannot stress enough the importance to evacuate.”

Consumers Energy Monday shut off power to affected areas in an effort to prevent electrical fires that could cause property damage.

Many residents in the Devils Hole neighborhood left their homes when authorities asked them to. Those who returned Tuesday to check their property found flooding damage.

“Found water up to the windows inside and everything is pretty well wrecked,” cottage owner Rob Scott told 24 Hour News 8. “We just remodeled it three years ago. It’s all wooded — it’s got wood furniture — and it’s all messed up. It’s pretty sad.”

Tuesday, Michigan State Police were monitoring the flooding from the air in a helicopter.

And at Croton Dam, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) gathered data about the flood that will be used to help the National Weather Service form a more accurate forecast of when the river may begin to recede.

The NWS says the dams are holding up properly.

Maple Island Bridge in Muskegon County closed due to flooding. (April 15, 2014)
(Maple Island Bridge in Muskegon County closed due to flooding. April 15, 2014)

The following roads are currently closed due to flooding, according to a release from the county:

  • Troy Township: Dickinson between 17 Mile and 16 Mile
  • Lilley Township: 14 Mile East of railroad
  • Beaver Township: Warner between 12 Mile and Hayes
  • Beaver Township: Warner between 11 Mile and 10 Mile
  • Dayton Township: Ramshorn and 32nd
  • Sherman Township: 32nd and Ferris
  • Sherman Township: 40th East of Ferris
  • Sheridan Township: 92nd and Lupin
  • Garfield Township: Wisteria Drive East of Luce
  • Bridgeton Township: Main Street off from Turner – S. of 128th
  • Bridgeton Township: S. River Drive and Maple Island, including Maple Island Bridge
  • Bridgeton Township: Fitzgerald and 124th
  • Ashland Township: Sugar Bush and Maple Drive off Croswell

The American Red Cross has set up a 24-hour shelter for people affected by the flooding at Resonate Church, located at 302 E. 68th Street in Newaygo, a release said. The Salvation Army will be providing meals and snacks.

Anyone needing assistance with evacuating from their home should call 231.689.7307.

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