River crests in GR; damage evaluation up next

Kent County
grand rapids riverside park flooding 022518_486802

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — After a weekend of rising waters and flooding, the worst is over in metro Grand Rapids.

“All the scales and the gauges and projections, it’s almost as severe as 2013,” Jack Stewart, who’s in charge of Kent County Emergency Management, said.

He said about 100 people had to evacuate homes along Buck Creek in Wyoming because of the flooding.

The National Weather Service says the Grand River crested in downtown Grand Rapids Sunday afternoon at 20.67 feet, well above the flood stage of 18 feet. The record is 21.85 feet, set during the historic flood of April 2013. The river crested at 18.2 feet in Lowell and then 22.56 feet in Ada Saturday.>>Inside woodtv.com: River conditions | Complete flooding coverage

The water is receding, though it will be a few days before everything is back to normal. The Grand River isn’t expected to fall below flood stage downtown until late Wednesday or early Thursday. On Sunday, which was windy but clear, many headed out to banks and bridges to see the high water. At Riverside Park in Grand Rapids, water over the trail kept people out to see the sight from going far.

The flooding has had Stewart and his emergency management team working around the clock. They issued a local state of emergency Saturday.

“It was not because of a crisis mode but our cities and townships put a lot of resources into this, so in case there is a declaration issued by the governor or maybe the feds that we would be eligible for funding to help out these communities that have dedicated resources to flood response,” Stewart explained.

He noted there was only one rescue in Kent County. He said he thinks people are more proactive and prepared since 2013.

The next few days, Stewart said, will be focused on damage assessment.

“We’ll start laying out the plans once the water gets to a safe level because we don’t want to send people into harm’s way to get damage assessments and when the water’s so high, we may not be able to get as accurate of a damage assessment,” he said.

The Kent County Health Department as also issued a no-contact advisory for the Grand River because of possible contamination.>>Photos: February 2018 flooding


Joseph Cramer, the owner of J&S Car Care, a car detailing company in Grand Rapids, said to call your insurance company immediately if your car was damaged by floodwaters. He said you shouldn’t wait to get it cleaned because mildew will form and because water damage can cause major problems with wiring and computer systems.

“You want your insurance company to be there for later in case the water got into the connections and it didn’t dry out and all of sudden you’re driving down the road and all of a sudden your dashboard goes flickity, flickity, flickity,” Cramer said.

AAA Michigan also advises quick action if your house was damaged by flooding. The agency also provided these tips for cleaning up after the flood:


  • If damage occurs during a cool season, leave heat on; if in summer, use an air conditioner if available.
  • Use fans to circulate the air and assist drying.
  • Remove as much water as possible by mopping and blotting.
  • Wipe furniture dry.
  • Lift draperies off carpet, loop through a non-metal coat hanger and place hanger on the drapery rod.
  • Prop up wet furniture cushions for even drying.
  • Remove wet area rugs or other floor coverings.
  • Open furniture drawers, closet doors and luggage to enhance drying.
  • Move photos, paintings and art objects to a safe, dry location.
  • Remove wet fabrics and dry them as soon as possible. Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.
  • Remove damp books from shelves and spread out to dry.
  • If the outside temperature is moderate to hot, use dehumidifiers if available.


  • Do not use an ordinary household vacuum to remove water.
  • Do not use electrical appliances while on wet carpet or wet floors.
  • Do not go into rooms with standing water if the electricity is on.
  • Do not lift tacked down carpet without professional help. Lifting the carpet incorrectly could promote shrinkage.
  • Do not wait to call for professional help. Damage from the water and bacteria growth can begin within hours.

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