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BLOG: Lowell / Ada Area Flooding Updates

KENT COUNTY, Mich. – The Grand River reaches record levels prompting evacuations and problems for the residents of Ada Township and Lowell.

Here is a link to the FOX 17 Flood Resource Guide: http://fox17online.com/2013/04/20/fox-17s-flood-resource-guide/#axzz2R2Cll4np

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LANSING, Mich. – Governor Rick Snyder has declared a state of disaster for several West Michigan counties following the flood of 2013.  Here is a news release sent by his office:

Governor Snyder declares state of disaster in 19 counties and two cities due to flooding

State requests federal officials to assist with assessing damage

 

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today declared a state of disaster for 19 counties and two cities – Grand Rapids and Ionia – to support ongoing local efforts to respond to the severe flooding that has affected parts of Michigan.

 

Along with Grand Rapids and Ionia, the governor’s disaster declaration also covers the following counties:  Baraga, Barry, Benzie, Genesee, Gogebic, Gratiot, Houghton, Ionia, Kent, Keweenaw, Marquette, Mecosta, Midland, Muskegon, Newaygo, Ontonagon, Osceola, Ottawa and Saginaw.

 

The declaration will ensure that all possible resources, in accordance with the Michigan Emergency Management Plan, are provided to assist the local response to the flooding, which took place April 9 through May 3.

 

“Our first responders and volunteer organizations must be commended for their tireless efforts to protect the public’s safety during this flooding.  This declaration makes available all the state resources that are needed to continue supporting local officials in their ongoing work to keep the public safe as the recovery efforts begin,” Snyder said. “We will be exploring all possible avenues for assistance to help affected residents and local governments recover from the severe flooding.”

 

The governor has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to join state and local officials later this week to assess the extent of damage to homes, businesses, public facilities and infrastructure. The Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) process is the initial step to assist state officials in determining whether a federal declaration should be requested.

 

During the assessment, the joint PDA teams, comprised of local, state and federal officials, will assess the extent of damage that was incurred by homeowners, renters and businesses. The teams will also assess the damage to public infrastructure, as well as the overall impacts to the communities.

 

The teams will visit the most severely impacted areas based on information gathered during local damage assessments. While the teams may not visit every affected home and business, all of the local damage assessment information will be included in the overall results. Affected residents and business owners are encouraged to report any damages to their local emergency management agency.

 

To assist with the damage assessment process, affected residents and business owners should have information readily available about the extent of their damage, including the location of flooding in living areas and the depth of floodwaters, as well as if the damage is covered by insurance.  In the event individuals are not available when teams are in their area, residents are encouraged to provide information about their damage to a neighbor or leave information at the front door.

 

The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) has been actively engaged in monitoring the flooding since April 19. The Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) continues to work with local and federal officials to gather damage and cost information necessary to determine whether the area may be eligible for federal funds of any kind.

 

Snyder’s disaster declaration authorizes the MSP/EMHSD to coordinate and maximize all state efforts to address public health and safety concerns in the affected jurisdictions, as well as to coordinate with federal agencies to provide any available assistance to help with recovery efforts.

 

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News
05/07/13

Grand River E. Coli Levels Declining

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – E. Coli levels are continuously decreasing for the Grand River, according to the Kent County Health Department.

Lisa LaPlante with the KCHD tells FOX 17 they’ve tested the waters in Lowell, Plainfield and near Johnson Park. All of which, came back with lower levels of E. Coli since the flooding began on April 18.

LaPlante did not say whether Kent County has lifted the no contact advisory for these areas.

FOX 17 crews are working to bring you more updates throughout the day.

Morning News
04/28/13

T-Shirts Benefiting Flood Victims

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.- One man is poking some fun at the floods that hit West Michigan but it’s all for a good cause. You can buy a T-Shirt that will benefit victims of the floods here. The shirts are $20 and are uni-sex. All of the proceeds go to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

LOWELL, Mich. – The first chance Rocky Eickhoff had to see what the flood did to his daughter’s house on Division Street in Lowell was Wednesday, after the river receded slightly.

“The water was up to this high,” said Eickhoff putting his hand more than three feet in the air, up against the house.  “All the way around the whole house.”

Now that the Grand River has pulled back, Eickhott has a lot of cleaning up to do.

“We got to get in there to rip the drywall up, just to stop the moisture from going up the walls and everything,” he said.

For this grandfather, there was little time to enjoy the sunny Spring day.

Looking at the weather forecast for the weekend, one could assume that it would help those cleaning up from flood damage.

Eickhoff said it just means they will have to work faster, mold and other dangerous bacteria can spread rapidly in a wet warm climate.

Barely anything touched by the flood waters from the Grand River is salvageable.

With little grandchildren living in the home, Eickhoff said has to be thorough, “You don’t want to take a chance.  So what you try to do is prevent from getting that stuff on it, yeah scrub everything.”

An expensive and time consuming prospect, but one that is needed if life is get back to normal for his children and grandchildren.

“They are going to be out of the house for I’d say up to six months easy, they are going to have to be into apartments,” said Eickhoff.

In the meantime, the community is working together so no one is left to clean up alone.

LOWELL, Mich. — The Kent County Health Department took three samples from three different spots in the Grand River in Lowell on Wednesday – checking for elevated E. coli levels after the flooding of the past week.

A “no body contact” order is still in effect for the river’s entire stretch because of the dangers of potential water-born illnesses.

13:38 “Chances are you’re gonna get diarrhea and vomiting – the outcomes of E. Coli poisoning,” Kent County Health Department sanitarian Sara Simmonds says.

Lowell is an ideal testing site for the entire river.

“We’re at, more or less, the point of entry where the Grand River enters Kent County,” Simmonds says, “so it gives you an indicator of what the water quality is as it moves through our county.”

FOX 17 testing of the river earlier in the week found E. coli colonies of 900, 1,300, and 10,000 in Grandville, Grand Rapids, and Walker, respectively.

And it could be more than just E. coli in the water.

“The test that we’re running today is an E. coli sample,” Simmonds says, “but it’s also an indicator of other organisms, pathogens that could be in the water that could make people very sick.”

Test results will come sometime Friday.

News
04/25/13

Flooding Update From Kent County

The following information was released by Kent County Thursday afternoon:

Emergency Management Division

Flood Update

Kent County

– The Kent County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution this morning to extend the local State of Emergency for an additional 30 days. This means the declaration, made April 19, remains in effect for all Kent County villages, townships and cities, through May 24, 2013. This extension gives Kent County official additional time to complete damage assessments. This process is necessary to determine if Governor Rick Snyder will issue a Declaration of Disaster; a step towards requesting FEMA funding or assistance.

Less than a quarter of the residents evacuated have been allowed to return home. “While the water is receding, it is still at or above flood stage in many locations,” said Jack Stewart, Emergency Management Coordinator. “We are in touch with jurisdictions and know where flooding issues have occurred. Teams will be surveying neighborhoods in the coming weeks, and those assessments will be turned over to the state to determine if a disaster will be declared by the Governor.”

The next step after that is asking for FEMA assistance. Many residents have been calling our Emergency Management Division with requests for FEMA funding. We are following very specific protocol and it is still very early in the process, therefore we are unable to answer any questions about FEMA. We will put information out as it becomes available, and ask for your patience and understanding through this process. We suggest residents work with their insurance companies until further notice.

Many families have had questions about what to do next. “We ask residents who are in their homes and have damage to clean and restore as much as possible at this time,” Stewart said. “Document everything you can. Keep track of any damage or losses.” When cleaning, wear gloves at all times, and remove all highly absorbent items: carpet and padding, mattresses

and upholstered furniture, for example. Bag these items in plastic, or label them as contaminated with sewage. Wash down all walls, floors and surfaces with clean water and a low suds detergent. Red Cross has cleaning kits available. Call 616.456.8661 for more information.

Updates and information on the flooding can be found at http://www.accessKent.com/News. If you require additional information (or an on-camera interview) please contact Lt. Jack Stewart, Kent County Emergency Management Coordinator, at 616.632.6255, Undersheriff Jon Hess at 616.632.6236, or PIO Lisa LaPlante at 616.632.7182.

1. If you were evacuated from your home, DO NOT RETURN until authorities say it is safe to return. Local officials are working to determine when it is safe for residents to return to their homes, and with Consumers Energy to restore power when safe. If your power is out and/or your gas shut down, do not attempt to turn these on yourself. Do not light matches in a house or business until it is deemed safe. More information at: http://www.accesskent.com/Health/EmergencyPrep/pdfs/CleaningUpFactSheet.pdf.

2. The no-contact advisory for the Grand River throughout ALL of Kent County will remain in effect until further notice. Concerns include a fast-moving current, debris, and contamination. Our first responders have had to save several people who ventured into the water (via kayak or raft) and ended up in trouble.

 

Stay out of the water – period.

3. Many residents may be using generators for power or kerosene heaters. Use these items carefully:

Read and follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions before running any equipment;

DO NOT use a generator inside your home, garage, crawl space, or other enclosed areas. Fatal fumes can build up;

Generators should be located in a dry area outdoors, away from open windows, vents, or doors;

Keep a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector near the area where you are running a generator;

Do not use heaters or generator near combustible materials.

4. If you have well water and the well head was submerged at any time, your water may be contaminated. It should not be used for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth, dish washing, or bathing. Water testing sample bottles are available from the Kent County Health Department and their four satellite clinics, First Baptist Church in Lowell, Alpine Baptist Church in Comstock Park, as well as most township offices throughout Kent County. Until testing results are complete, use bottled water, DO NOT use your well water. People drinking or washing with water from a private well that has been flooded will risk getting sick. If you are uncertain about the integrity of your well, call a registered well driller or licensed plumber. (The Kent County Health Department recommends testing well water annually, regardless of weather conditions.)

5. Clean and disinfect businesses and homes where the flooding occurred within 24-48 hours of returning. Wear gloves when handling anything that may have been in flood water or sewage. These areas could have organisms that cause illness to humans and pets. Be careful to avoid sharp metal while cleaning, as cuts can lead to tetanus concerns. More information can be found here: http://www.accesskent.com/Health/EmergencyPrep/pdfs/CleaningUpFactSheet.pdf

6. Throw away any food that came in contact with floodwater or sewage, or, if in a freezer or refrigerator, throw out food with an unusual color, odor, or if the temperature is above 45° F internally.

7. Hazardous waste, such as gasoline, insect repellant, antifreeze or motor oil, can be taken to these drop-off sites:

Transfer station at North Kent Landfill

2908 10 Mile Rd NE Rockford, MI 49341

The Kent County Road Commission

1500 Scribner NW Grand Rapids, MI 49504

The Wyoming Waste Water Treatment Plant

2350 Ivanrest Ave SW Grandville, MI 49418

Kentwood Public Works

5068 Breton Rd SE Kentwood, MI 49508

More information, including hours for Saturday drop-off, can be found at: http://www.accesskent.com/Departments/DPW/sat_collections.htm.

The American Red Cross continues to operate two shelter locations in Kent County: the Alpine Baptist Church in Comstock Park is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. First Baptist Church in Lowell will be open until 8 p.m. tonight, and from 8 a.m. until noon Friday, April 26, 2013, and will then close. Those needing overnight shelter should call 211. The locations also can provide residents with clean-up kits, which include a mop, gloves, broom, bucket, scrub brush and cleaning chemicals. For more information, contact the American Red Cross at 616.456.8661.

KENT COUNTY, Mich – Below is the latest update from the Kent County Emergency Management Division concerning the flood:

For Immediate Release
April 24, 2013

Emergency Management Division
Flood Update

Kent County – The Kent County local State of Emergency issued last week remains in effect for all Kent County villages, townships and cities. County officials are preparing to request an extension of that declaration for the next 30 days, as damage assessments are just getting started.

The Kent County Board of Commissioners will hear the resolution requesting the extension Thursday, April 25, during their regular board meeting. This could aid Kent County in assessment, and the possible request for state of federal funding to cover costs incurred on both public and private property.

We have a total of approximately 700 residents within Kent County who were evacuated from their homes in the past week (please note this does not include residents of the city of Grand Rapids). About 150 have been allowed to return home.

“Local authorities are working with families who were evacuated, to inspect property for any damage or building integrity issues that the flooding may have caused,” said Lt. Jack Stewart, Emergency Management Coordinator for Kent County. “As those individual assessments are completed, Consumers Energy will make sure it is safe to restore power, and residents will be contacted regarding when they can return.”

There are numerous health and safety issues that continue to create concern. The Kent County Health Department’s No-Contact Advisory remains in effect for the Grand River. There is dangerous debris and contamination from a number of sources. DO NOT come into contact with the water until the advisory is lifted.

Several rescues of kayakers and canoeists have put an additional burden on first responders. Some communities may charge individuals for the cost of these rescues, and some individuals may even be issued a citation for these actions.

Barricades remain posted on a number of roads throughout the county. Please follow detours.

“Several motorists have driven into areas in spite of barricades,” Lt. Stewart said. “On four occasions, the vehicles did not make it through the water over the roadway, and required first responders to come to their aid. If a law enforcement officer or deputy witnesses someone driving around a barricade, the driver will be issued a ticket.”

Health and safety are still the number one priority for residents and county personnel, as we move into the next phase of this disaster. Working with the Kent County Department of Equalization, a process for damage assessment has been developed. Equalization staff will be training personnel from cities, townships and villages that were affected by flooding, as well as volunteers, to log damage estimates. It could be several weeks before an estimate of the damage is determined.

Updates and information on the flooding can be found at www.accessKent.com/News.

These concerns remain:

1. If you were evacuated from your home, DO NOT RETURN until authorities say it is safe to return. Local officials are working to determine when it is safe for residents to return to their homes, and with Consumers Energy to restore power when safe. If your power is out and/or your gas shut down, do not attempt to turn these on yourself. Do not light matches in a house or business until it is deemed safe.

More information at: http://www.accesskent.com/Health/EmergencyPrep/pdfs/CleaningUpFactSheet.pdf.

2. The no-contact advisory for the Grand River throughout ALL of Kent County will remain in effect until further notice. Concerns include a fast-moving current, debris, and contamination. Our first responders have had to save several people who ventured into the water (via kayak or raft) and ended up in trouble. Stay out of the water – period.

3. We are continuing to ask people to conserve water:

  • Flush the toilet less;
  • Shower for a shorter time;
  • Avoid doing laundry, or do larger loads at once;
  • Avoid the dishwasher – hand-wash dishes instead.

4. If you have well water and the well head was submerged at any time, your water may be contaminated. It should not be used for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth, dish washing, or bathing. Water testing sample bottles are available from the Kent County Health Department and their four satellite clinics, as well as most township offices throughout Kent County. Until testing results are complete, use bottled water, DO NOT use your well water. People drinking or washing with water from a private well that has been flooded will risk getting sick. If you are uncertain about the integrity of your well, call a registered well driller or licensed plumber. (The Kent County Health Department recommends testing well water annually, regardless of weather conditions.)

5. Clean and disinfect businesses and homes where the flooding occurred within 24-48 hours of returning. Wear gloves when handling anything that may have been in flood water or sewage. These areas could have organisms that cause illness to humans and pets. Be careful to avoid sharp metal while cleaning, as cuts can lead to tetanus concerns.

6. Throw away any food that came in contact with floodwater or sewage, or, if in a freezer or refrigerator, throw out food with an unusual color, odor, or if the temperature is above 45° F internally.

7. Hazardous waste, such as gasoline, insect repellant, antifreeze or motor oil, can be taken to these drop-off sites:

  • Transfer station at North Kent Landfill
    2908 10 Mile Rd NE Rockford, MI 49341
  • The Kent County Road Commission
    1500 Scribner NW Grand Rapids, MI 49504
  • The Wyoming Waste Water Treatment Plant
    2350 Ivanrest Ave SW Grandville, MI 49418
  • Kentwood Public Works
    5068 Breton Rd SE Kentwood, MI 49508

More information, including hours for Saturday drop-off, can be found at:

http://www.accesskent.com/Departments/DPW/sat_collections.htm.

The American Red Cross continues to operate two shelter locations in Kent County:

First Baptist Church in Lowell, and the Alpine Baptist Church in Comstock Park. These locations are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Those needing overnight shelter should call 211. The locations also can provide residents with clean-up kits, which include a mop, gloves, broom, bucket, scrub brush and cleaning chemicals.

For more information, contact the American Red Cross at 616.456.8661.

April 24, 2013 ROADS CLOSED

***This list is subject to change as conditions change throughout the day***

North

15 Mile from Stout to Shaner (impassable) access address 6610 from west and 6645 from east

Tisdel from 20 Mile Rd and 21 Mile Rd (impassable)

Mowry from Lehman to Tisdel (impassable)

Ashley from 7 Mile Rd to M-44

Central

Canright & Briggs
4 Mile & Briggs
Forest Ridge & Coit
West River Dr & Abrigador Trail
West River Center & Abrigador Trail
West River Dr & St Lawrence
West River Dr & Karcher Dr
Jupiter & Konkle
West River & Indian
Indian & River Point
Walnut Park & Northland Dr
Willow Dr & Bailey Park
Willow Dr & Canright
Shady Dr & Knapp St
Reeds Lake Blvd from Duchess to Manhattan
Reeds Lake Bvd from East Beltline to Hall
Michigan from Twin Lakes to Crahen

South

Vergennes between Parnell & Boynton
36th St between Quiggle & Cherry Lane
68th from Wingeier to Pratt Lake
64th from Pratt Lake to Montcalm
66th St from Whitneyville to McCords
108th St from Morse Lake to Moe St
2 Mile Rd from Alden Nash Ave to Murray Lake Ave
4 Mile Rd from McCabe to Boynton
Pratt Lake from 68th St to 64th St
68th St from Pratt Lake to Montcalm
Ada Dr from Headley to M-21
McPherson from Alden Nash Ave to Parnell
Jackson St from M-21 to Grand River
Grand River Dr from Jackson to Montcalm
Causeway Dr
Division north of Oberly
McCords from 68th St to 76th St
Southwest Complex
92nd St from Ivanrest to Byron Center

News
04/22/13

JUST IN: New Lowell Area Aerial Flood Photos

News
04/22/13

Grand River Flood Waters Receding In Lowell

LOWELL, Mich. — A day after the Grand River set a new record-high in Lowell, the waters are quickly receding – and residents are thankful that things didn’t get out of hand.

Lowell saw the Grand River crest at 19.02 feet Sunday – topping the old record of 19 feet, set in 1948.

The sound of sump pumps filled the air throughout town Monday – as people finally started getting water out of their basements.

Residents told FOX 17 that water had dropped close to a foot in the morning hours alone.

One woman living on Main Street ended up with about four feet of Grand River water in her lower level.

“Saturday afternoon, I came home about 2:30 and it was like this,” she says.

Save for a hot water heater and furnace, her basement was empty. Her flood insurance will cover the little amount of damage done.

“It could have been a lot worse,” she says, “and it wasn’t.”

It’s a similar situation for Mark Stevens on Kent Street.

“Used to be a street,” Stevens laughs, standing next to the ankle-deep water flowing down his road. “It’s a new experience for us. “We bought the property two years ago and this is my first experience with a flood.”

Stevens still has three feet of water in the garage and basement. He and friends were able to get everything out before the waters came in. That helped stave off financial damage, because Stevens doesn’t have flood insurance for the home.

“We knew that our basement wasn’t finished,” he says. “Our main floor is OK, so all we had to do is get the furnace and the hot water heater out of there and essentially wouldn’t be hurt financially.”

Now all Stevens and other residents can do is wait as the Grand River continues to recede. A little mess, but morale is high.

“You just go on,” Stevens says. “There’s no sense getting upset about it. As soon as the water gets out of here, we’ll clean up our basements, get the water out of them.”

“Hopefully life will return to normal a little bit.”

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