GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - During a news conference Friday afternoon, Kent County officials declared a local state of emergency for the county due to major flooding.
Declaring a local state of emergency allows the county to get damage assessment resources from the state. It's also the first step toward possibly receiving federal emergency assistance.
While it may take until Sunday for the flooding to crest, hydrologists said the water would not recede below flood stage until the middle of next week.
Kent County officials asked all county residents to limit water use, which means flushing toilets less, showering for a shorter amount of time and avoiding doing laundry or running the dishwasher.
Residents living in submerged areas were also told to use bottled water until further notice for potable use, including brushing teeth, drinking, cooking and bathing.
Kent County Sheriff Larry Stelma also offered the following safety tips:
- Do not attempt to drive through roadways covered in water – the road could be washed out or there could be strong currents.
- Avoid floodwaters; water may contain debris, gasoline or raw sewage.
- Softened ground can cause trees to fall, and wind gusts can break tree branches. Be aware of this in your travels, and exercise caution when around trees.
- If you see a downed power line, do not approach it, call 911.
- Please respect our emergency responders and Public Works crews. Avoid areas that are flooded. People seeking photographs or those who want to see the damage first-hand may impede emergency personnel trying to respond.
For any Kent County residents who are under a mandatory evacuation from their homes and have pets, the Kent County Animal Shelter will house those pets for up to seven days.
Kent County isn't the only West Michigan county to declare a local state of emergency. On Thursday, Newaygo County declared a local state of emergency and on Friday morning, Ottawa County did the same.
The Kent County Health Department has issued a no contact advisory for the Grand River.
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