Kalamazoo braces for record river crest

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Kalamazoo officials say they expect “historic flooding” in the city this weekend.

Friday, Kalamazoo County Undersheriff James Vandyken said water is being released from the Morrow Dam on the Kalamazoo River to accept the flow from Battle Creek, which he says is a normal.

At a news conference Thursday, City Manager Jim Ritsema said he is anticipating the flood will be worse than the 2008 and 1947 floods.

The Kalamazoo River is expected to crest above 11 feet Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.>>Inside woodv.com:Full 2018 flood coverage | River conditions

About 65 buildings will be affected and numerous roads will be shut down, said James Baker, the director of public services for Kalamazoo.

“This is primarily going to impact traffic,” he said. “The ability for citizens and business travel in and out of the city, especially north-south road access. We are currently working on traffic control and traffic signals on the remaining streets.”

Free sandbags will be made available to residents. Officials are coordinating with the American Red Cross to provide help to those who are affected by flooding.

City officials are asking drivers to use Oakland Drive, Sprinkle Road, US-131, Portage Street or Lovers Lane to travel north and south throughout the area.

“We’re urging everyone that if you see standing water, stay out of it,” Kalamazoo County Emergency Management Planner Pat Wright said. “You don’t know what’s in there. There could be electric (lines), sewage.”

The city has created a website to provide updates and more information about flooding, which can be found at www.kalamazoocity.org/alerts.

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