LOWELL, Mich. (WOOD) — Bernard’s Ace Hardware in Lowell has had its shelves cleared of sandbags and sump pumps as residents deal with flooding.
“They’re normally here, and now they’re not,” said store manager Matt Mayer.
It’s all a result of the battle between Lowell resident and mother nature that expected to come to a head sometime Friday evening when the Rand River will likely crest at just over 18 feet.
In Ionia County, things were starting to improve Friday morning, as most of the road barricades were coming down. The exception was on M-21 over the Maple River, which the Michigan Department of Transportation kept closed as a precaution until the water stops touching beams under the deck.
The city officials in Lowell are taking what is happening in Ionia as a good sign for their city’s residents.
“Myself and the police chief have been assessing the flooding in Ionia and Saranac and we don’t anticipate to evacuate the affected areas in the city,” said Lowell City Manager Michael Burns.
For some residents, it was a forgone conclusion that floodwaters would reach their homes because they live too close to the Grand River to keep the water at bay.
There are also homeowners who have watched the water approach slowly, and in some cases, surround their homes.
Sam Smith is one of those homeowners.
“I think we’re going to be OK,” he said. “From the look of it, I think we’re going to be all right.”
But as in so many other cases in Lowell, floodwater has a way of sneaking through every crack and crevice. Smith was in for an unwelcome surprise when he checked his Michigan basement and saw small puddles of water started to form on the floor.
Although the flooding looks bad now, Lowell officials said it doesn’t appear they will need to set up an evacuation center.
However, other problems remain. Lowell’s wastewater has been inundated by floodwaters, forcing the city to discharge a mix of floodwater and diluted sewage into the Grand River.
“The issue we’re having right now, there’s so much water coming in, the system can only take so much,” Burns said. “Less usage may help, but there’s so much water coming into the system. We’re just trying to manage the situation.”