Traverse City Record-Eagle

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April 15, 2014

Rivers recede, residents watch sky for rain

TRAVERSE CITY — Area rivers and streams began to recede with the recent sunshine, but riverfront property owners worry about a forecast that calls for a chance of more snow and rain through the weekend.

The Boardman River, along with several Benzie County streams, appeared to have crested Monday evening before beginning to recede. Water remains over the banks and the National Weather Service in Gaylord extended the area’s flood warning through 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Weather Service officials warned that rivers and streams remain swollen and residents can expect persistent flooding threats for the rest of the week.

Loma Smith-Romanow’s family has owned a cottage on the Boardman River since 1919. She said she hasn’t seen the river so high from rain since 1961, when downpours washed out the Keystone Dam.

“It’s receding somewhat from yesterday and we are very fortunate we are having a snow event instead of rain right now,” Smith-Romanow said. “If it turns to rain again it will be awful, so let’s keep our fingers crossed on that.”

Tom Gardner at Boardman Plains said he watched the water creep to within two or three inches of flooding his house Monday evening. The river dropped about a foot since then, but he warned that it’s still dangerous and full of debris.

Some homes in Gardner’s neighborhood remain surrounded by flood waters and residents headed for higher ground, he said.

Any kind of precipitation, even a small amount, worries Gardner since Traverse City officials removed the Brown Bridge Dam two years ago. During the removal the dam breached, emptied the pond behind it and sent decades of accumulated silt cascading downstream.

“Since they took the dam out it’s just amazing how much the river fluctuates with just a little bit of rain,” Gardner said. “We’re not cry-babying about this, but there is quite an extreme.”

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