MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) — The blizzard that swept through Michigan last week left a lot of damage in its wake. In the Upper Peninsula, sustained north winds blowing in off of Lake Superior coupled with the frigid temps to create an ice dam at the mouth of the Au Train River, west of Munising, and cause the river to back up and flood the area.

“The hard north winds that we had for three, four days pushed in a lot a lot of sand to start with and then with the cold temperatures it froze along with all the shove ice,” Wyatt Seaberg of Munising-based Seaberg Enterprises said. “And it’s backed up to about a foot and a half below the bottom of the bridge along with flooding a lot of homes upstream.”

Seaberg Enterprises was tasked with removing the ice dam and getting the Au Train River flowing again.

“We were able to get everything out here (Tuesday) night and we got water flowing … to try to maintain the levels so they don’t get any worse,” Seaberg said. “And then (Wednesday) morning, we started widening up that trench that’s draining the river. The biggest thing is not draining it so fast that it washes out underneath the bridge.”

According to Au Train Township Supervisor Michelle Doucette, some 50 residents of the small community of Au Train began seeing water backing up into their yards Sunday.

It wasn’t until Monday at 7 p.m. that all the necessary local, state and federal permits were secured, allowing work to begin. 

“With all the water that’s there, it’s saturated all the soils around the bridge, along with around a lot of homes and that’s why people are experiencing the flooding in their basements. But with all the water being saturated, makes everything super soft and if you were to just open the gates per se, all that soft material would wash out from under the bridge,” Seaberg explained. “So as much as everybody wants it to be a quick process to dry out their basements and just make the water disappear, the right way to go about it is slow and steady.”

With a mountain of ice and snow to clear away, Seaberg believes the best plan of action is to let Mother Nature and the laws of physics clear the ice dam.