GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — There are thousands of drains and catch basins in Kent County to keep up with melting snow.
West Michigan received 18 to 20 inches of snow in the last storm and this week warm temperatures are expected. Kent County officials have a message for residents concerned about potential flooding.
“As it melts slowly, we’re going to be OK,” Kent County Drain Commissioner Ken Yonker said. “The county drains a lot. We have a couple hundred miles now cleaned that can handle a lot of this water.”
County residents still need to do their part as well.
“We’re going to try to get to as many as we can with the trucks, but if you have a drain in front of your house, take your shovel out there and just make sure the water can get in it,” Kent County Road Commission Deputy Managing Director of Operations Jerry Byrne said. “It’s going to help you, your neighbor and us.”
Byrne said the more cars off the streets the better, so the snow can be plowed, melt and drain properly.
“The snow depth has already gone down about 25%” says Byrne. “The ground’s not frozen, so that means it can soak in. If that drain’s not open, the water sits around it. It freezes at night, makes ice, and makes the road slippery.”
The Kent County Drain Commissioner doesn’t expect major flooding, but says some residents in low lying areas should have a plan.
“You want to make sure that that water doesn’t get within three to four feet of your home before putting sandbags up so that you can hold that water back,” Yonker said.
People should be cautious of plows when they’re outside, especially children playing in the snow.
“As we push those banks back, we don’t want a child or a pet in those snowbanks. So that’s critically important,” Byrne said.
Something else to be cautious about? Icicles.
“Literally thousands of dollars of damage that can be caused,” said Leonard Krawcyzk, a sales manager with All Weather Seals of West Michigan.
“Sometimes your roof can actually leak. You’ll leak into the soffits and the water will drip out of the soffits and not actually come into your house. So it’s slowly rotting out the edge of your roof over the years, and people never catch it until it’s too late,” says Krawczyk.
Icicles can be prevented. Experts recommend taking precautions like cleaning your gutters and raking the snow from your roof.
“Some people run heat tape along the edges of the roof line and they keep it plugged into the winter so that as that water comes down, it hits the overhangs instead of freezing, they stay warm so that it won’t get the ice,” Krawczyk said.