Significant Flooding – FLOOD WATCHApril 17th, 2013 at 2:53 am by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, News, Weather
Thurs. AM – Gallery of storm, flooding and hail pictures. Weds. PM a backlash east wind after t-storm passage produced gusts to 48 mph in East G.R. and 47 mph at the Ford Airport. Grand Rapids has now had measurable rain 12 days in a row and during that time over 6″ of rain has fallen. Rainfall Weds. 1.23″ of rain at Daybreak Church in Georgetown Twp., 1.11″ Holland, 1.06″ Allendale, 0.99″ downtown G.R. 0.90″ Jenison, 0/81″ Grand Haven Up to 1″ of rain in Walker, St. Johns, Hudsonville, 0.67″ Muskegon, 0.83″ officially in G.R. at the Ford Airport, 0.34″ Battle Creek, 0.33″ Kalamazoo with moderate rain. Strongest storms in St. Joseph Co. and along I-69. Pea-sized hail reports today in Grand Rapids, Wyoming, Grandville, Cascade, Jenison, Cutlerville, Dunningville, Hopkins, Paw Paw, Sunfield, Allegan, East G.R. and Plainwell, where dime-size hail was reported. Wed. PM update: Dew points are in the mid-upper 60s from S. Missouri into S. Indiana. Lots of moisture for heavy rain and storms. Gusts to 30 mph in W. Michigan early afternoon…cool east wind. The Grand Rapids National Weather says: “THERE IS POTENTIAL FOR MULTIPLE RIVER GAGING SITES TO REACH MAJOR FLOOD STATUS.”
FLOOD WATCH for the entire area from this evening to at least Friday AM. There is the potential for severe and dangerous flooding in Lower Michigan later this week. This from the Milwaukee National Weather Service: “Some of the contingency forecasts suggest that a few sites could approach or EXCEED the Flood of Record.” Image on the right is the 7-day rainfall forecast from WPC. The 12Z Weds. AM NAM (caribou) model forecasts 2.42″ of rain for Grand Rapids from Weds. even. thru Friday. Other forecast totals from that model run: 2.92″ Muskegon, 2.09″ Mt. Pleasant, 3.29″ Big Rapids, 1.84″ Holland, 1.83″ S. Haven, 2.56″ Ludington, 2.62″ Cadillac, 1.61″ Lansing, 2.13″ Kalamazoo, 1.13″ Jackson, 0.88″ Pontiac. The 12z Weds. AM GFS (caribou) model run has these forecast rainfall totals: 3.47″ Ludington, 3.14″ Muskegon, 2.47″ Cadillac, 3.63″ Big Rapids, 2.53″ Grand Rapids, 2.34″ Mt. Pleasant, 2.37″ Kalamazoo, 1.42″ Lansing, 1.97″ Jackson, 1.63″ Pontiac. The heaviest rain is Thurs. and Thurs. night. Hopefully, this is overdone, but there will be a band that should get very heavy rainfall. The ground is saturated and rivers are already high. The Grand River has crested in Kent Co., but remains above flood stage in Comstock Park, still about 2 ft. over flood stage. GRR had 1.01″ of rain Monday/Mondaynight. Here’s NWS current Flood Warnings. Check area river levels here and here. If we were to get rainfall anywhere near these forecast amounts, we would see very significant flooding. While I’m not saying this will happen, it’s not out of the realm of possibility at this point. You’ve got some time to think about how this might affect you. The dams in our area are not meant to hold flood waters. In the flood of 1986, the volume of water coming down the Muskegon River increased by 18 times in 24-hours in Newaygo Co. Even if the ponds were empty to start, they don’t have the capacity to hold but a small fraction of that kind of flow. I’m not saying we’ll see anything like that, but this is something to think about. We’ve had several incidents in recent years of roads washing out and cars (at night) driving into raging, swollen creeks/rivers. We’d have basements flooding and roads that might be impassible. Please keep watching us on TV. I’ll try to update the blog and our internet forecast as often as I can. Here’s some simple flood safety rules. Here’s NOAA’s Flood Safety Page. Watch this video that shows how fast a road can wash out. We’ve had washouts in Allegan Co. in 2010, in Dorr in March 2012 and in Van Buren Co. in 2008. (picture of Rogue River flooding in 1986 from USGS/NWS – click on the picture to enlarge…a few more Rogue River pics. from 1986 here.) ALSO: Here’s recent rainfall in Michigan (7 days)…note there has been a little more in Ottawa – Kent to Saginaw and a little less down toward Battle Creek and Coldwater, where rivers aren’t quite as high. ALSO: More heavy snow for the western U.P.