Updated: Wednesday, 30 Jan 2013, 11:13 PM EST
Published : Wednesday, 30 Jan 2013, 5:47 PM EST
MECOSTA TOWNSHIP Mich. (WOOD) - Ice jams caused the Muskegon River to flood in Mecosta and Big Rapids townships Wednesday, damaging several houses.
People along Riverside Drive and 183rd Avenue were evacuated Wednesday afternoon as the Muskegon River rose between Rogers Heights and Big Rapids. Among the evacuees were two elderly women who were rescued from the second story of a home by firefighters.
At least two dozen residences sustained severe water damage as the river exceeded its banks.
Mike Enszer has lived in the area for 26 years and he's never seen flooding like what happened Wednesday.
"In my lifetime I didn't ever think I'd see the water come up to my house," he told 24 Hour News 8. "When I came home at one o'clock, I had water on the ground just starting to come around my house. By three o'clock, we had it up to the door right then."
Enszer said in about three to four hours, water rose four feet around his home.
"I came home from work and get all the furniture out. I got it to a friend's garage up the road," he said.
Enszer said he's one of the lucky ones. His neighbors' homes are now filled with water.
"They came home and had three feet of water in the house and their dogs were sitting up on the furniture trying to stay dry," he said.
The jams were caused by rising temperatures, which broke up up the ice, causing it to float down and eventually get stuck and create dams.
"It is not unusual for ice jams to cause river levels to fluctuate by several feet in a very short period of time," according to the National Weather Service.
One witnesses said ice flowing down the river ripped apart anything in its path, including several docks.
"There was hunks of ice the size of this truck here going by and taking docks out and taking trees out. Just ripping stuff right off the banks," said resident Kurt Veersma.
Several emergency response agencies, including the Mecosta County Sheriff's Office, the local fire department and the emergency management service, were on the scene Wednesday. Several roads remained closed Wednesday night.