Residents and road crews dealing with early flooding ahead of weekend’s rising waters

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WEST MICHIGAN-- With already a few inches of rain falling across West Michigan and more on the way, water levels are rising and many roads are flooding. Melting snow and heavy rain will likely flood rivers across the region in the next few days.

Water flow in the Grand River is expected to quadruple by this weekend which means there will be even more flooding along the banks. While its not a wash out just yet, other parts of West Michigan are already seeing a lot of extra water keeping road commission workers busy.

Pot holes have been an all too familiar sight for some workers in Kent County. One crew filled about a dozen pot holes during their shift on Tuesday.

"You clean the debris out of the hole, try to get the water out of the hole, put the fresh material back in the hole, pack it in and hopefully it stays," said Jody Flipse, an operator for the Kent County Road Commission. "It probably won't and we'll be back patching it tomorrow."

In other parts of West Michigan, it's a similar story: with standing water on several roads in Kalamazoo including Crosstown and Park and in Van Buren County, many residents are already seeing heavy flooding in their neighborhoods.

"It has flooded in the past," said Lynn Coy, who lives in a flooded neighborhood. "I grew up in this house and I can remember minor flooding, but absolutely nothing like this. What happened in October and then today is just so much more than it ever was."

Coy lives in Mattawan where the Mattawan Creek flooded in several locations, including her neighborhood. She says while they have been able to keep water out of their homes so far with sandbags provided by the village fire department, something still needs to be done to improve the neighborhood's drainage system.

"This used to be farm land and all of the store and restaurants and everything weren't here before," said Coy. "Once they put all of this in and made this retention pond, this is what happens when we get a lot of rain."

For now, road crews will continue to assess the damage and shut down roads when necessary. Early shifts are staying later and night shifts are coming in early.

"There was just a lady that hit a pot hole and blew her tire," said Flipse. "You have to be cautious. If you see debris on the side of the road be cautious because there's probably a hole there. Just slow down and be cautious."

Flipse also wants to remind drivers not to drive through any standing water on the roadways because it is incredibly dangerous.

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