River Update- Sat. 1/25

Bill's Blog
ups truck flooded willow drive

A UPS truck got stuck on flooded Willow Drive in Comstock Park on Jan. 16, 2020. (Courtesy Victoria Bowman)

Above is the UPS truck that got stuck in the floodwaters of the Grand River in Comstock Park on 1/16 Thursday.

Graph of the water level of the Kalamazoo River at Comstock

Sat. AM – 1/25 – The graph shows the ice jam has eased and water is flowing unimpeded. The jam started about a half mile downsteam of the King Highway Bridge and extended back toward Sprinkle Road. Parks and low-lying areas along the river were flooded as the river rose. You can see how the water level bounced up and down. Temperatures will be warm enough that very little additional ice should form and a little could melt in the PMs when temperatures will get above freezing.

Grand Rapids had a total of 2.02″ of precipitation on Saturday 1/11/20. That was not only a daily record for Jan. 11th, but also the 2nd highest midnight-to-midnight precipitation total ever in the month of January!

We had another 0.77″ of precipitation (including 6.3″ of snow in G.R.) on Saturday, Jan. 18th, pushing our monthly total in G.R. to 3.22″. That’s 1.90″ above the average for Jan. 1-18 for G.R.

All that water caused rivers to rise rapidly and there are some places where rivers exceeded flood stage. Here’s a link to where you can check current river levels…and here’s a link to where you can check Michigan river streamflow (volume in cubic feet per second).

In Comstock Park, flood stage on the Grand River is 12.0 feet. The river crested at 13.8 ft and is now back down to 11 ft. as of 1/25. I drove along the Grand River in Comstock Park for a short time this week. The river is below flood stage, but still quite high. Here’s a link to the current reading in Comstock Park.

In downtown Grand Rapids. Flood stage here is 18 ft. The river stayed well below flood stage and will continue to fall slowly.

Graph of the Grand River at Robinson Township

Above is the gauge at Eastmanville in Ottawa County. The flood stage at nearby Robinson Township is 13.3 ft. and the Grand River crested at 14.4 ft. It’s down to 12.9 ft and is steady. It’s expected to stay just a little below flood stage.

Graph of the Water Level of the Grand River at Ionia

The Grand River crested at Ionia at 20.8 feet – slightly below the flood stage of 21 ft., but high enough to flood part of the fairgrounds. The river is steady and recent precipitation will only cause the water level to rise and remain high into early February.

The Thornapple River at Hastings crested at 7.48 ft. Flood stage there is 7 ft. The river is down over 2 1/2 feet and will come up around 8″ due to recent rain.

Graph of the water level of the Thornapple River at Hastings

The St. Joseph River at Three Rivers crested about a foot and a half above flood stage. It fell below flood stage, but should rise back to or slightly above flood stage.

Graph of the Water Level of the St. Joseph River at Three Rivers

There was an ice jam on the Muskegon River near Rogers’ Heights in Mecosta County. Water is flowing OK right now, no significant flooding is occurring.

Graph of the water level of the Kalamazoo River at Comstock

The ice jam on the Kalamazoo River near Comstock has weakened and the water is flowing through.

You may have see this set of pictures from Dave Martin….they show the dramatic rise in the water level of Lake Macatawa. Lake Michigan and all the connecting lakes and rivers at Lake Michigan have seen a similar rise.

The additional water being added after the heavy rain will keep the level of Lake Michigan steady to even slightly rising at a time of year when the river level usual falls slowly.

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