Traverse City Record-Eagle

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April 16, 2013

Wet weather worries drag on

TRAVERSE CITY — Officials are keeping a close eye on local rivers and lakes, as forecasters are calling for another wet week.

The Traverse City area was expected to accumulate less than a quarter-inch of rain Monday, the National Weather Service said. But after a break Tuesday, forecasters expect rain and thunderstorms to roll in Wednesday evening and continue through Thursday morning.

“I would not be surprised if a few places got over an inch of rain,” said Nick Schwartz, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gaylord. “The main flooding concerns we’d have right now is rises on area streams and rivers.”

It’s too early to say if the predicted rain will cause flash flooding, Schwartz said. No warnings or advisories were issued as of Monday.

Benzie County officials aren’t taking any chances. They continue to closely monitor upper Platte River in Honor, where water levels are known to rise and fall quickly.

“I have an alarm set for if it goes up two feet over the normal flows, then I am contacted automatically by that and I contact the fire chief and go out and have a look at it,” said Emergency Management Coordinator Frank Post.

Melting snow and heavy rain last week forced a woman to evacuate her home on M-115. An overflow of water at the Crystal Lake outlet near Molineaux Road caused the flooding.

“Talking to the people, they said they’ve never seen it come up that quickly there,” Post said. “I talked to the homeowner the next day and she indicated she lived there since the 1960s and they’ve never had water levels like that.”

Post said ground frost is the main problem now because it prevents water from percolating and instead creates runoff.

Gregg Bird, Grand Traverse County emergency management supervisor, isn’t expecting anything more than the typical spring snow melt this week, but county personnel are routinely monitoring river levels.

“There’s still plenty of room in the lakes and there’s still plenty of room within the Boardman River itself. We have not gone above or reached flood stage yet,” Bird said.

Standing water in fields and drainage from the hillsides and embankments is the county’s main issue, he said.

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