Michigan River and Lake Flooding Sat. Evening Update

Bill's Blog

A breach at the Edenville Dam in Midland County Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

Recent heavy rain has sent many Lower Michigan rivers up to or above flood stage. You can check rivers levels here and here.

The totals above do not include the heavy rainfall from last Thursday. Note the 7″ totals near West Branch, the 6″ totals near Sheboygan WI and the 5″ totals in the Chicago area, where some areas had 8″ of rain in just 6 days. Also, just the rainfall over Lake Michigan probably boosted the lake level by a couple of inches. That’s even before the runoff gets there from area rivers.

Flooding at the Ionis Fairgrounds

The Grand River at Ionia went up 10 FEET in just a few days, cresting at 23.2 feet on Wednesday. That was 2.2 feet above flood stage. Most of the Ionia Fairgrounds was flooded. Water is draining from the fairgrounds as the river level drops. Sat. AM the level was down to 21.3 feet or about 3″ above flood stage. The river at Ionia peaked at 23.2 ft., or 2.2 feet above flood stage. It will continue to fall during the weekend.

Grand River at Ionia
Graph of the Grand River at Ionia

As of Friday AM, the crest on the Grand River has moved through Kent Co. and into Ottawa Co. The crest past Ada Thursday night. The river peaked at 16.4 feet in Comstock Park and as I write this, it’s down about 4″ and falling. This is the biggest flood since Feb. 2018. Streets affected by high water in Comstock Park include Willow Dr., Konkle Dr., Abrigador Trail and Riverbend St. Flood stage in Comstock Park is 12 feet and the river won’t get below flood stage until late Monday or early Tuesday. The river in downtown Grand Rapids reached 19.51 feet Friday AM – Flood stage in downtown G.R. is 18 feet.

Grand River at Comstock Park

Up to 100 homes have been affected in the Comstock Park area.

Grand River at Robinson Township

The Grand River at Robinson Township will crest at nearly 2 1/2 feet above flood stage, probably this Saturday. Streets affected by flooding in Robinson Township include Van Lopik St. and Limberlost Lane. This is just east of the new M-231 highway bridge.

Thornapple River at Hastings
Graph of the Water Level of the Thornapple River at Hastings

The Thornapple River at Hastings was also at the highest level since Feb. 2018, more than two feet above flood stage. The crest on the Thornapple reached the Grand River late Wednesday night. As of Saturday AM, the river at Hastings was down nearly two feet from crest, but was still a few inches above flood stage. The river at Caledonia has dropped below the flood stage of 10 ft.

Chippewa River below Mt. Pleasant
Graph of the Water Level of the Chippewa River

Also, the Chippewa River at Mt. Pleasant crested more than 3 feet above flood stage. By Sat. AM it was down below flood stage. The river will continue a steady fall through the weekend.

St. Joseph River (MI/IN) at Three Rivers
Graph of the St. Joseph River at Three Rivers

The St. Joseph River at Three Rivers crested at 2 3/4 feet above flood stage, with lots of water in Skidmore Park (what’s with that abandoned school (or whatever it was) by the park?) By Sat. AM, the river was down half a foot from crest. The river should slowly recede over the next few days, but may not get below flood stage until the middle of next week.

Kalamazoo River at Comstock
Graph of the Kalamazoo River at Comstock

We’re just past crest on the Kalamazoo River at Comstock and Kalamazoo. The river at Comstock is just above flood stage, but has dropped a couple inches. This is the highest water on the Kalamazoo River since Feb. 2018.

The crest on the Muskegon River has made it to Lake Michigan and the river should fall slowly. However, the river at Bridgeton in SW Newaygo Co. is still a foot above flood stage, but down a little more than a foot from crest. Below is a list of rainfall totals from May 16-17.

-17Rainfall Sunday through Monday night

Note: Please stay out of the rivers. Generally, the higher the level of the river, the faster the flow. It’s more difficult – sometimes much more difficult to maneuver a kayak or small boat in a flooding river. There is also a lot more debris flowing down the river, so it’s much easier to get hung up on a log. Finally, always (no matter what the river flow) wear a personal floatation device. I always have my life jacket on when I use my kayak…even if I’m in water that I know to be shallow.

Also: Video of crabapple blossoms blooming at the Chicago Botanic Gardens.

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