GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Storms that moved through West Michigan Wednesday caused some flooding, especially in Kalamazoo and Kent counties, and wind damage in eastern Ottawa County.
A flood warning has been issued for parts of the Grand River in Kent, Ingham and Ionia counties. The Kent County Sheriff’s Office said residents near the Grand River in Comstock Park, Ada and Lowell, should pay attention to water levels, along with residents near Buck Creek in Grandville.
Several rivers are expected to reach or get close to flooding by Friday, the sheriff’s office said in a release.
“Sustained rainfall in the region has resulted in more runoff and higher water levels on local rivers than originally anticipated,” the sheriff’s office said.
The Kent County Road Commission said there are multiple roads that are already closed due to water.
In Grattan Township, Ashley Avenue is closed from M-44 to 7 Mile Road. In Caledonia Township, Cherry Valley Avenue is closed from 76th Street to 84th Street. In the East Grand Rapids area, Reeds Lake Boulevard is closed from the East Beltline to Manhattan Road and from the East Beltline to Hall Street.
In Plainfield Township, Canright Street is closed from Briggs Boulevard to Willow Drive, 4 Mile Road is closed from Briggs Boulevard to Willow Drive, and Willow Drive is closed from Bailey Park to Purchase Drive.
Go to kentcountyroads.net for the latest road closings in Kent County.
In a tweet, the city of Wyoming said Clay Avenue has barricades set up south of 54th Street, while Crippen Avenue is closed at 56th Street.
The city of Kalamazoo says Rose Street is closed from Wall Street to Forest Street and Forest Street is closed from Rose Street to Park Street. Park Street is closed at Crosstown Parkway, Burdick Street is closed at Crosstown Parkway, and Crosstown Parkway is closed at Howard Street.
DOWNED TREES, ‘SURFABLE’ ROADS
There were multiple downed trees at Maplewood Cemetery south of Coopersville after strong winds reaching more than 60 mph rolled through the area around 9:45 Wednesday morning.
Near Marne, News 8 saw a roof collapsed at a horse barn. At another house down Johnson Street, a fallen tree caused a propane leak, prompting the Wright-Tallmadge Fire Department to respond.
The Kalamazoo Growler’s stadium, which sits along the Kalamazoo River, was partially covered in water Wednesday afternoon.
In southeast Grand Rapids, next to Breton Village, a couple woke up to Ardmore Street flooded outside their home. Chelsea Jandernoa has lived there for five years.
“It’s never been this bad, that’s for sure,” Jandernoa said. “We’ve gotten some buildup but never this bad. We were startled. Worried it’d be hard to get out of the driveway.”
City workers came and tried unclogging the drains, but they couldn’t stop the surge in water.
“I was impressed by the city though,” she said. “They came right away. I called and they were here within 10 minutes.”
So Jandernoa and her husband, Ryan Vaughan, made the most of it, getting creative to get his mail.
“My husband was like, ‘let’s go put the canoe in it,’” Jandernoa said. “I was like alright, go for it, I’ll grab the paddle.”
“He had a blast,” she said. “He just ripped his shirt off and hopped out. He loves to canoe so he was excited. It was a funny thing too. Our dog got really excited, that’s Bernadine. She was chasing him all around.”
The water, several inches deep, didn’t stop some drivers from going for it, like a Fedex truck and a pickup truck.
“It’s like, surfable, right?” Jandernoa said with a smile.
MAN ACCIDENTALLY DRIVES INTO FLOODWATERS
A driver near Ada was driving his car close to a flooded area to look at the water when he got distracted and got too close. When trying to reverse out, the driver confused the brake for the gas and accidentally accelerated into the water, according to the Kent County Sheriff’s Department.
The current took his car out. The driver was able to open the door and climb on the hood and called 911. He was able to walk onto the shore uninjured. The vehicle was later towed out of the water, the sheriff’s office said.
Officials are reminding residents to stay out of flood waters and to not drive into it. The water is often moving faster than it appears, and if there are downed power lines nearby there is a danger of electric shock, the Kent County Sheriff’s Office said.
STORMS CAUSED POWER OUTAGES
Several thousand homes and businesses lost power as a result of the storms Wednesday, though most got it back by the afternoon.
As of around 6 p.m., about 7,700 customers were without power across Michigan, according to the Consumers Energy outage map, down from about 17,000 around noon.
The following West Michigan counties had more than 100 customers without power:
- Allegan County: 457
- Barry County: 588
- Calhoun County: 397
- Kent County: 3,947
- Newaygo County: 153
- Ottawa County: 177
Brian Wheeler with Consumers Energy said crews have been working throughout the day.
“Our expectation is that power should be back to everybody before the day is over,” Wheeler said. “For those that are still without power, we know that can be a difficult time, we appreciate people’s patience, but we want folks to know we are at work right now at Consumers Energy.”
Consumers Energy reminded people to stay at least 25 feet away from downed power lines and anything it touches. Even if they don’t look dangerous, assume they are charged. You should call 911 and then Consumers at 800.477.5050.
Drivers are advised to watch for line crews working along roads and give them plenty of space.
Don’t run portable generators in enclosed spaces; keep them at least 25 feet away from any doors or windows in your home.