GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (April 15, 2014) — There are two official points where the U.S. Geological Survey and National Weather Service take measurements on the Muskegon River in West Michigan. One of the sites broke a record Monday night — the other just broke.
At Evart (east of Reed City in Osceola County), the river level rose above 15 feet Monday night, breaking the previous record set in 1989. As the above graph shows, the river was near its forecast crest of 15.4 feet Tuesday morning, and will likely start falling slowly by late Tuesday.
Meanwhile downstream, the automated gauge at Croton in Newaygo County started registering a sharp drop in river levels late Monday night and Tuesday morning. However, officials were quick to note that the river was still rising, and that the gauge had apparently been damaged by the flood waters.
As National Weather Service hydrologist Mark Walton reported Tuesday morning, “At this time, Newaygo Emergency Management is indicating that the river is still rising and we are going with the assumption that the gage is tracking with our current forecast. At this time we have no real time observations. All other available manual gages are under water at this time.”
That forecast shows the Muskegon River cresting in Newaygo County Tuesday evening at 13.3 feet, then staying fairly steady through late Wednesday before starting to fall once again. That is the second-highest crest ever recorded in the Croton area, putting it into the range of what is considered a “major flood.” The highest crest ever was during the devastating flood of 1986 at 16.8 feet.