Swollen rivers expected to crest this weekend

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Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids - 2/20/18

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – After more than two inches of rain in many locations across the area, plus another one to two inches still on the way, water is rising. Melting snow, semi-frozen ground, and the moderate to heavy rain will likely drive rivers to bankfull and beyond.

It’s important to realize when an event like this unfolds, it usually is days before the smaller creeks, streams, and tributaries dump out in the major rivers like the Grand River. There are branches of the National Weather Service that track these rises and forecast the time and day of any crest. Our local NWS office has a link on their main page to these graphs, called hydrographs. See their starting page here.

While we may have standing/ponding of water and some minor flooding on/around roads/streets, the bigger issue may very well be the rivers themselves. For example, the flow of water down the Grand River through Grand Rapids is currently about 8,000 to 9,000 cubic feet per second. That’s a one foot, by one foot, by one foot box (length/width/height). The flow is expected to quadruple by this weekend to around 32,000 cubic feet per second. That would be minor flooding and a river stage that would come within two feet of the huge 2013 flood! Click here for the hydrograph.

The real problem will likely be along the Grand River in Comstock Park where MAJOR flood stage is expected this weekend. River flow there is about 9,000 cfs and is expected to reach about 30,000 cfs, coming with inches of the 2013 flood. Click here to see the hydrograph.

If you live next to/along a creek, stream, tributary, and a smaller river than feeds a larger basin, make sure to keep a close watch over the next several days. Water levels will most certainly rise and the larger river crests typically don’t occur until days after the rain is gone. Get more at www.fox17online.com/weather. Please be safe. Never drive through high water!

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