Flood Update

April 20th, 2013 at 1:08 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Flood RR   1:30 AM – Picture is aerial view of the RR bridge south of the S-Curve.  The water is up to the tracks and they have parked a train over the bridge to weigh down the bridge.  The river level in Grand Rapids downtown is at 21.6 feet as I write this, up from 21.4 feet at 8 PM.  The river will crest late Sunday around 22.5 feet – a modern record.  The river is flowing at the rate of 34, 150 cubic feet per second (it reached 50,000 cfs during the flood of 1904, when the river covered the entire west side of the city all the way to John Ball Park!).  There is now 6.2 times the average volume of water passing thru G.R.  The river is walled and confined to a fixed channel downtown.  To that the increased volume of water thru the restricted area, the river speeds up, so the flow rate is very fast where the river is narrow.   At Comstock Park, the river is estimated to be around 17.7 feet (the gauge is underwater) and will rise to a new record 18 feet Sunday afternoon.  Water covers Riverside Park and the entrance is sandbagged to keep the water from coming out on Monroe Ave.   The river at Ionia is down 3″ since crest at midday Sat. and fell an inch from 7:45 to 11:45 pm Sat.  Upstream the river level at Portland fell 2″ Saturday PM and evening.   At Lowell, the river rose an inch from 4 PM to 8 PM to 18.9 feet and should crest early Sunday around 19.2 feet, a new record.  In Ada, the reading was 22.8 feet Sat. evening.  The river crest of 23.1 feet will occur around midday today, also a new record level.  Hundreds of parking places are covered with water at Amway when the river gets this high.  The crest will move thru Ottawa County on Monday.  Robinson Twp. is at 16.9 feet and may rise to 17.4 feet.

The Rogue is falling slowly, now down 6″ from crest in Rockford.  The Thornapple has dropped 2 inches at Caledonia, where the Sat. evening reading of 11.3 feet was 1.3 feet over flood stage.  At Hastings, the river down 1/2″ Saturday evening, down about 1 1/2″ from crest, but still 1.6 feet over flood stage.   The Muskegon River at Croton was at 10.2 feet and holding steady.  Crest occurred at 11.11 feet, well below the 16.8 feet that was reached in the great flood of 1986.   The Kalamazoo River at New Richmond is falling at 17.9 feet, still above the flood stage of 17 feet.    The river crested there at 18.49 feet.

Sat. afternoon update:   Plaza Towers has been evacuated (nearly 1,000 people – it made national news on NPR).  There was a minor fire as water rose into the basement area Sat. morning.  Guests and residents were evacuated thru the skyway to the Marriott and Amway Hotels.  They are pumping water out of the parking area at the Marriot and water is being pumped out of several other buildings downtown inc. the Amwayand Marriott hotels.  The Jackson St. bridge is closed in Lowell, M-21 is closed east of Lowell.  Lowell is “open from the north and south”, but tough to get thru going east/west.  Gawkers were urged to stay out of the Lowell area.    The dams on the area rivers, inc. the bigger ones on the Muskegon River are not meant to hold floodwaters, but Consumers Energy is managing the dams to minimize the flow as best they can.   Picture is the Grand River just south of the S-Curve.  Water has reached the rails.  They have had a train parked on the bridge to weigh down the bridge.

The Sunday European model rainfall forecast for Tuesday PM/Night:  0.74″ Grand Rapids, 0.44″ Lansing, 0.44″ Jackson, 0.91″ Muskegon, 0.58″ Kalamazoo.   The crest on the Grand River will be past Grand Haven by the time this rain moves in.  While smaller creeks and rivers will come up a bit, it’ll be nowhere near what we have already had.  This will slow the fall on major rivers, but it’ll the worst will have past and a gradual fall will continue thru the week.  The GFS model has 0.34″ of rain for G.R. on Tuesday.

Anyone notice how cold it was Saturday.  The high for G.R. was 38 (avg. high 60) and for Kalamazoo 40 (avg. high 62).    I’ve looked at long-range models (European weeklies, CFS, IRI, Japanese) and they continue to keep temperatures a little cooler than average into May over the Great Lakes.   None of the models have the heat ridge over the Great Lakes during the summer.  The heat ridge varies on the models from the Rockies to the Central Plains.   It’s not saying much, but this July should be cooler, maybe significantly cooler than last July.  August last year had average temperatures.   There’s still a little bit of ice in Green Bay.  The low temperature was ZERO Sat. morning at Wakefield in the U.P. and +5 at Ironwood.  Snow depths Sat. AM:  50″ Hoist Basin, 40″ Twin Lakes (looks like more than that at the link), 35″ Marquette Airport, 32″ 10 miles S. of Grand Marais, 26″ Munising, 18″ Ironwood and Paradise, 16″ Newberry, 9″ Sault Ste. Marie, 1″ Gaylord and Lake City.

50 Responses to “Flood Update”

  1. Vincent(N.E.Kent CO) says:

    Real bad for Lowell. The news should check out the Ada area also. They are flooding pretty good.

    1. Nathan says:

      Yes its very bad! Several buildings are flooded

  2. Rodger Drueke says:

    I live 5 miles south of the Grand Haven pier. there is a plume of residue that stretches from the pier to our location,an aerial photo would be great.

    1. Dave says:

      Here’s the page of Lake Michigan photos from the MODIS website. Nothing since yesterday, since its been cloudy.


  3. Nathan says:

    Bill I am about to email you a flood video in Ada

  4. Ruth Tucker says:


    PLEASE ask people to abide by a NO WAKE rule near homes on the Grand River. We live in Comstock Park on Abrigador Trail and have noticed some sport water craft and boats nearby. We don’t want more damage to our homes than we already have. I’ve been posting on my River Rat Reflections about our struggles.


    Ruth Tucker

  5. cbm says:

    We have been put through so much these past few years. This flooding renches my heart. I have finally lost my faith after so many troubles.

    1. Mike M. says:

      Never lose faith. Something better will happen. I lost everything once including nearly my life. It got better. Somebody out there says a prayer for you and boom, the worst is past. You’ll see.

    2. Jack says:

      cbm: I will Pray for You ! Also Here is a Song for You .This Song has gotten Me Through Life’s Up’s and Downs ! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ilYi-PJGyc.

    3. Clarence says:

      I hear you loud and clear, cbm. Bad forecast after bad forecast has tested my once strong faith in God. We are a poor family, but would gladly have you over for some chicken stock and corn soup.

    4. tc says:

      God is obviously punishing you.

    5. Todd says:

      hang in there. jack, your song was very touching. here is one that has helped me through many tough times: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=draifMpM5ck

    6. cbm says:

      It’s like there are a million gods and who knows which one is right maybe I pray to the wrong one. Maybe my neighbor from Pakistan is right. Who knows its a crap shoot.

      1. Clarence says:

        Yes yes. I wonder too if my family allowed it if things would be different if I believed in something else to help get me through, especially this flood. But my friend also said to keep my god in mind because of the need again for a holy ark. Thanks for everyone’s support as I speak my mind. We don’t have much support here because we are new to this town. Hope it isn’t as dangerous as its weather. I like your show Bill!

        1. cbm says:

          In this flood I lost everything and my faith. God does not look after us small folk any more.

        2. Irish coffee says:

          Sometimes it’s not about what God does for us;but rather what we do for God.That said, true Faith inspires us to ‘weather’ ALL of life’s storms(see:Job).God allows tragedy, pain and suffering….how we cope, is how we honor Him.Truth is ABSOLUTE…perception means NOTHING in the end!Iow, we might want to ‘believe’, w/ all our hearts, that we have $1million in bank savings… but if we have only $100, we are only getting $100!;)

        3. Harry (Battle Creek) says:

          Irish Coffee, AMEN!!

        4. GunLakeDeb says:

          Clarence – this happens very seldom. Normally our rivers are lovely places to picnic and enjoy outdoor recreation – I think you’ll grow to love West Michigan :-)

        5. Irish coffee says:

          cbm- COUNT, don’t subtract, your BLESSINGS! For 1- you haven’t LOST everything…as you show by posting here(internet access).2-TRUE WEALTH/TREASURE is having that which money CAN’T buy, i.e:love, hope, Faith, wisdom,peace, integrity,honor,and most of all-SALVATION!

  6. Nathan says:

    Just watched you Bill!

  7. Barb says:

    Does this mean that we won’t even get into the 70s this summer? That’s really depressing!

    1. Rocky (Rockford) says:

      I hope the temperature never gets above 78 degrees this entire summer!!!

      1. TomKap (Michigan St. & Fuller) Grand Rapids says:

        yeah, well, we already have you figured out. you’re just a loon.
        I’ll remember your post when we hit 85 as I head out for some long-lost sunshine.

  8. Rocky (Rockford) says:

    The skiing at Boyne Mt was GREAT today! Temps in the low 30′s, and a few inches of fresh SNOW! Simply Fantastic! It sure is nice to not see all of fixxxer’s whining and complaining on the blog!!!!!!!!!! Lets hope it stays that way, but don’t count on it. I’m taking bets on how many days before he rears his ugly head again!

  9. Cal says:

    The Thornapple is still rising. Why do the Channel 8 weathercasters say it is falling? NOAA predicts it will peak at 2 am tomorrow.

    1. Jim says:

      NOT according to their data they put on line.




      USGS/NOAA puts online measures for two points on the Thornapple, Caledonia and Hastings. The above are measures at Caledonia.

  10. Sara Karsten says:

    Im in Kentwood and have never had any water in my basement….until today….its seeping thru the seems at the place where the wall meets the floor and up thru the floor at any seem. I am thinking the water table is just way too high as I have never had this in 13 years. anyone know how long it takes for that to go down?? What a mess! You keep sucking it up and it keeps coming in!

  11. Ray says:

    Hopefully it all dries up before mosquito season arrives.

  12. Katie in Kentwood says:

    Just came back from walking around by the Fish Ladder..wow it is completely underwater!

  13. Katie in Kentwood says:

    I wish I would have seen you, Bill. I was in that same area taking pictures about an hour/hour and a half ago.

  14. INDY says:

    Bill thee YARDofBRICKS is all under water tonight I hope to be having a bon fire soon….Can’t see my horseshoe pits all under water what a wet week it has been!!! I see one of your news trucks at the end of 4 mile chilling maybe 4 the 11pm news!! I would guess swim in there Bill give us some more rain..Stay tuned INDYY….

    1. Skot says:

      Heading to Baldwin next weekend for the yearly opening of the cottage INDY!!!!

  15. JohnS says:

    last time I checked my school was sitting with 2 feet of water in its parking lot

  16. Jack says:

    The Lord’s Prayer Words
    Our Father, which art in heaven,
    Hallowed be thy Name.
    Thy Kingdom come.
    Thy will be done in earth,
    As it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread.
    And forgive us our trespasses,
    As we forgive them that trespass against us.
    And lead us not into temptation,
    But deliver us from evil.
    For thine is the kingdom,
    The power, and the glory,
    For ever and ever.
    IN JESUS NAME AMEN!!!!! :-)

      1. Irish coffee says:

        …. AMEN! & THE TRUTH shall set you FREE!!!!!!!!!

  17. Michael says:

    While this has been the worst flooding in how man years; after another week, when all returns to normal, and we will move on to other things; how much does one want to guess that the news will be: “Great Lakes Water Levels are still below normal.”

    Even though all the rain is needed to bring the Lakes up to manageable levels, I would wager to guess that in a few weeks after all this rain is calculated, it will still not be enough.

    Bill….care to give us your input on this?

    1. Mark (East Lansing) says:

      I would tend to agree with that. Bringing the levels up several feet can’t happen ‘overnight’.

    2. DF (SE Mich) says:

      You are absolutely correct. It is so low it has to start somewhere. Water levels took quite a while to recover in the ’60′s, about 5-6 year to normal. In 10 years it rivaled record highs. Here is the chart:

  18. Hugh says:

    It is very resourceful that a train was parked on the railroad bridge. That is an incredible amount of weight — could save the infrastructure! Also all God’s blessings and spiritual help for those who are impacted by this disaster. God loves you and us all. Pray for strength and I will pray for you.

  19. DF (SE Mich) says:

    23 degrees here this morning, only a few degrees away from the record low in the 1800′s.

    1. michael g (SE GR) says:

      24* at the airport, 23* at my house. Record in GR was 22*. Close call.

      1. Ken says:

        24, 23 degrees Must be all this global warming lol

      2. GunLakeDeb says:

        20* down here in the “bowl” of Gun Lake at 7:30 AM…. but so happy to see some sunshine!!!!!

  20. DF (SE Mich) says:

    Yikes! GR was -17 below normal yesterday, Detroit was -14 below normal.

    1. michael g (SE GR) says:

      “Sure was a warm day in Oxford though”–Travis

      1. Mark (East Lansing) says:

        Well played, Mr. G.

  21. Harry (Battle Creek) says:

    High temps today have been brought down a few degrees. Tomorrow’s 67 forecast high has dropped to 62.

    Seems as though we can’t even buy some warm weather. We had upper 60′s for 2 hours, which felt AMAZING. Then it rained for days and dropped. These systems are aggravating… the only thing we need now is an upper level low to park itself over southern Ontario for May.

  22. Irish coffee says:

    ..”upper low to park over so. Ontario….lol ;) If that verified , fixxx would move to Fla.(and welcome a family of illegal immigrants into his home), BDBC would join the Tea Party(+ promote Palin for ’16)…and the moon would turn blood-red!! ;-)

    1. Jack says:


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