W. MI residents prepare homes as floodwaters rise

Joe LaFurgey -

LOWELL, Mich. (WOOD) -- As metro Grand Rapids prepares for the impact from floodwaters, communities to the east are already experiencing problems.

Drivers in Lowell are having a difficult time getting around and will face the challenge for the next few days as Jackson Street on the southeast side of town was closed Thursday afternoon because of water over the road.

That water is creeping towards the neighborhoods.

Longtime residents like Anita Miller have been through it before. In the historic 2013 flood, Miller spent days trying to soak up the water coming into her basement. For Miller, the water doesn't even need to make it to her house.

When the water comes over the banks of the Grand River about four blocks to the south, it saturates the neighborhood above and below the ground.

"It doesn't need to reach my house," Miller said. "All it needs to do is come up through the ground. I mean, the ground's wet already."

The floodwaters are already causing problems further east.

>>Inside woodv.com: Full 2018 flood coverage

M-21 in Ionia County is closed east of Muir, as the Maple River is expected to go over the bridge.

The county was forced to declare a local state of emergency, the first step in getting state and federal funds to cover the county's cost of flood related damage.

In Lowell, city officials are telling residents in neighborhoods between the Grand River and Main Street to start moving appliances and other important items in basements to higher ground. The city is also providing sand at the parking lot behind city hall for anyone who wants to fill sandbags.

The Grand River has already crept up over its banks in Lowell, flowing to the neighborhoods between the river and Main Street, east of Monroe Street to Division Street.

The river is expected to crest at about 18.5 feet Friday night, less than a foot below 2013 levels.

"We anticipate our flood levels to be in this state for approximately 12 hours before we see a reduction in elevation," said Lowell City Manager Michael Burns. "This would be projected as the third highest elevation flood in the city of Lowell history."

Kent County Emergency Management is working with the American Red Cross to set up a shelter if needed.

While the city is offering help, neighbors are depending on each other, like they always have.

"We're a team, we all work together," said Miller. "We all took care of each other back in 2013, and if anything happens we'll do the same this year."

Residents can find updated information on the city's Facebook page and website.


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