Southern Michigan Rivers Way Above Average Flow

Bill's Blog

This is a picture from our GVSU camera of the Grand River, just south of the S-Curve in downtown Grand Rapids Thursday evening. You can see the river is high for this time of year. That island appears to be covered with water. BTW that island has a name, it’s Jackson Island. As of early Friday AM, the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids had a flow of 9,620 cubic feet per second. The average flow for June 21 is 2,570 cfs. That’s a current flow of 374% of average and the river is rising in downtown G.R. The river is still rising early Friday.

The Kalamazoo River at Comstock has a flow of 2,970 cfs compared to an average of 740 cfs (so 401% of average flow). The Thornapple River at Hastings was at 1,320 cfs, compared to an average of 185 cfs (713% of average flow). The river is near crest at Hastings. The St. Joseph River at Niles had a flow of 8,830 cfs compared to an average of 3080 cfs (287% of average flow).

The Tahquamenon River in Upper Michigan had a flow of 907 cfs. Average is 483 cfs, so that’s at 188% of average. The Saginaw River at Saginaw had a flow of 13,400 cfs, compared to an average of 2,660 cfs (504% of average) and the Fox River at Green Bay WI had a flow of 9,020 cfs compared to an average of 6,410 cfs (141% of averages).

10 pm on June 20 at the Muskegon Channel (from NOAA Coastwatch) – Latest twilight of the year.

All that water is heading into the Great Lakes. There are many concerns…erosion, which will be amplified during high wind days. Even medium waves are coming over the breakwaters. The constant water means slippery algae are growing, increasing the risk of falling and hurting yourself or falling into the cold (still in the 50s) water. We worry about derechos – lines of thunderstorms with strong winds that push the water toward the shore and cause the water level to increase relatively rapidly. There’s the threat of a deep low pressure center this fall/early wind with strong winds that produce a “standing seiche” of high water. Hazards to boaters include hitting an object that is usually easily visible that is now below the surface of the water. Water is coming up on piers that have electricity. Occasional flooding of roads near the Great Lakes and their connecting lakes is a problem, as is water into the basements and homes of people near these lakes. The lakes are still rising…and will stay high at least into next year.

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