Barry County activates emergency ops center for Crooked Lake flooding

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DELTON, Mich. -- Barry County is activating an emergency operations center in response to heavy flooding at Crooked Lake.

About 90 percent of the 280 people who live along Crooked Lake have been dealing with floods, some since January. Heavy rains in the spring only made things worse.

"It's gotten worse," said Sharon Richie, who lives along upper Crooked Lake.  "The flooding has gotten higher and boat traffic has increased so we have waves from that.

The operations center is to coordinate response and recovery efforts, with a focus on the health and safety of the people living there, according to a release Tuesday from the Barry County Emergency Management Department.  Sandbags are available through the county road commission, and residents can call 211 for help.

Barry County Commissioner Bob Geiger and Director of Emergency Management Jim Yarger say they want residents to know long-term help is on the way and they'll do whatever they can to aid residents until then.

"We're going to have the same type of response that we would in terms of manpower if it were a traditional declaration of emergency," Geiger said.

“With the activation it’s going to bring us all to the table to discuss where we are at and what we think can be done and maybe do some outside the box thinking,” Yarger said.

Residents are urging boaters to please respect the 'no wake' zone, since waves are terrible for their situation right now.

"It's gotten worse," said Sharon Richie, who lives along Crooked Lake.  "The flooding has gotten higher and boat traffic has increased so we have waves from that."

The Barry County Drain Commissioner and the Michigan Department of Energy Quality are meeting Wednesday to formulate a plan to help drain the lake of one to two feet of water.  The idea is to use industrial pumps to suck out more than a billion gallons of water, though they still need to figure out where to put it.

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