Traverse City Record-Eagle

April 14, 2014

High water, low temps

BY SARAH ELMS
selms@record-eagle.com

— TRAVERSE CITY — Rivers are rising and the temperature is falling as the start-and-stop transition from winter to spring continues.

Tom Gardner described the scene in front of his home on Boardman Plains Road along the Boardman River this morning as a “football field full of water.”

Gardner watched the river breach the banks on the north end of his yard Sunday evening and awoke today to find one side of his house surrounded by the overflow. Some water crept into his crawlspace, he said, but his home’s main level remained dry.

“We’ve been here 20 years. Some of our neighbors have been out here 40 years, and we’ve never seen this kind of thing happen. Never,” he said. “We always see the water go up and down every spring, but never like this.”

A steady rain dropped about 1.6 inches of moisture on Traverse City overnight between Sunday and today, said Keith Berger, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gaylord.

The National Weather Service issued flood warnings and watches across the region Sunday, and the danger of flooding remains even though the rain threatened — and in some cases followed through with the threat — to change to snow.

“The runoff is going to continue because there’s a lot of groundwater out there yet,” Berger said. “A lot of it has to do with frost layers and frozen ground. The ground doesn’t absorb what it normally would, so we’re going to have more runoff.”

Benzie County Emergency Management Coordinator Frank Post said a road at Valley and Oakley roads north of Honor was completely washed out by flooding this morning, but so far no homes have been affected.

Post also is monitoring the Platte River, Cold Creek, the Crystal Lake outlet and the Betsie River.

“We have concerns. The water is rising significantly. However, we don’t have any homes flooded so far,” he said.

Minor flooding cropped up on roads across Grand Traverse County today, but no injuries or significant damage was reported, Grand Traverse County Emergency Management Coordinator Gregg Bird said.

“We have been experiencing minor flooding due to backed up drains and storm drains that are clogged still that haven’t been cleaned out from the winter and fall,” he said.

Bird said Grand Traverse County residents who live in flood-prone areas should be in an active state of awareness. He added that Grand Traverse County residents can sign up through the county’s website for emergency alerts, such as flood warnings, through a new emergency management notification system called CodeRED.

The forecast predicts snow showers will continue rather than rain Tuesday, with accumulation of less than an inch.

Temperatures will hover around 28 degrees Tuesday, but could break records with a predicted low of 17 degrees. The lowest temperature on record for Tuesday in Traverse City is 18 degrees, which was recorded in 1950, according to the National Weather Service.

That’s 12 degrees warmer than Wednesday’s record low of 6 degrees, recorded in 1904.

“This shows you exactly what can happen in the spring,” Berger said.

The chance of rain and snow showers continues into Wednesday with a high near 42. Temperatures could hit 50 degrees by the end of the week.