Traverse City Record-Eagle

April 24, 2013

Swollen Grand River steadily dropping

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Western Michigan's swollen Grand River was steadily receding Tuesday from record-setting flood levels even as hundreds of people remained evacuated from their homes.

The river level late Tuesday was about 1.5 feet below its crest at Grand Rapids and upstream at Comstock Park in Kent County's Plainfield Township, the National Weather Service said. The levels were 4.4 feet over flood stage, or when the river first tops its banks, at Comstock Park and 2.4 feet over at Grand Rapids.

It is expected to take about a week before the river drops back within its banks, the weather service said. The Grand Rapids area got a bit of rain Tuesday but not enough to have much effect on the flooding.

The Grand River has inundated parts of downtown Grand Rapids.

At least 100 homes in the Comstock Park area were reported to be flooded. About 1,000 people had been evacuated from downtown Grand Rapids' Plaza Towers, and Kent County reported that an additional 530 people outside the city were evacuated from their homes.

Upriver from Grand Rapids, floodwaters were receding in Ionia County, which saw days of high water along the Grand River that affected more than 100 homes. The river crested in Ionia on Saturday.

"We are entering the recovery phase," Doug Devries, coordinator of the Ionia County emergency management office, told the Sentinel-Standard of Ionia. "We're done with the initial response. So now it's time to get things back the way they were — or better — before the event occurred."

In Grand Rapids, children's spring baseball games were postponed because of flooding. The Northern Little League was to hold its opening day Saturday, reported. Instead, it will be May 4.

Further down the Grand River, floodwaters poured into Lake Michigan at Grand Haven, carrying debris including trees and even the remains of boat docks. Debris has been washing up on the shores of West Michigan's beaches, but there hasn't been too much trash among it, WOOD-TV reported.

The debris mostly consisted of vegetation such as cattails, although a picnic table was among the finds.

On the other side of the state in Saginaw County, a flood warning remained in effect for the Saginaw River. Flooding in the area has left homes, businesses and part of the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge under water.

The river itself was receding, falling 2.4 feet from its Sunday crest. The river remained 3 feet over flood stage Tuesday evening at Saginaw and is not expected to drop below flood stage until early May.

Upstream from Saginaw, water topped the dike at Misteguay Creek in Saginaw County's Spaulding Township. Officials now face the challenge of how to get the flood waters back into the river.

"Spaulding Township has taken a pretty darn good it," Township Clerk Richard Leach told "It's like a bathtub. You have to have a way to drain it. There's not a good way of draining it back out."

A half-inch of new rain is forecast by the end of Tuesday for the Saginaw area, the weather service said.