KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Garry Clark couldn’t make it to school Friday morning. He was helping his family evacuate from their Lakewood neighborhood home to get away from the rising flood waters that surrounded it.
“A lot of water [was] coming through the floors and coming through the pipes and everything,” said the 15-year-old draped in a blanket. “And it’s freezing cold.”
He said the waters started coming up in his house on Wednesday and it hasn’t stopped. He's since been staying with other relatives. However eventually he and his family will stay in a Motel 6 for the next few days to keep warm.
“One of the furnaces are underwater,” said Clark. “We just turned our power off because if it gets too high we might get electrocuted.”
Clark was among the many families in the area to evacuate. The City released a statement saying that the Kalamazoo River has already surpassed 11-feet which breaks the record of 10 feet set back in 1947. They held a joint press conference with local law enforcement agencies on Thursday warning residents to expect the worst on Saturday.
“It just keeps going up everyday,” said Dave Bloomfield who owns Neon Specialist and HomeTown Vapor. “We’re putting up tarps, sandbags, things like that. It’s the highest I’ve ever seen it. We’ve been out here for 50 years and it’s never really gotten this high.”
Bloomfield and friend spent Friday morning drilling the tarp into the lower part of his building. They then propped up chairs to hold the tarp in place. He’s hoping that his makeshift barricade will protect the exterior from erosion. He suggested other businesses and homeowners do the same before the weekend arrives.
“You’re going to have to have a lot of friends and people you can call on to get help ‘cause there’s a lot of work here,” he said. “It’s a big mess.”