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River stays high

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:11 PM

The flood stage of 13.3 feet in the area of VanLopik Street and 118th Avenue was surpassed earlier this week. At 15 feet, the flooding in the area is considered moderate; below 15 feet is considered minor.

Mark Walton, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service office in Grand Rapids, said an ice jam in the river extended from the U.S. 31 drawbridge at Grand Haven all the way upriver into Robinson Township.

The ice surface area encompasses 1.09 square miles, Ottawa County Emergency Services Director Beth Thomas said Thursday.

With the heavy, wet snow that fell Thursday mixed with warmer temperatures and some rain in the forecast for early next week, Thomas said the possibility exists for other areas outside of Robinson Township to be impacted.

Thomas' office is supplying local jurisdictions with sand bags. These can be picked up at municipal offices in Robinson and Grand Haven townships, and the Village of Spring Lake during regular business hours. City of Grand Haven residents may contact the Department of Public Safety to get sand bags.

Sand bags should be filled just over half-full, so the sand can settle and fill in voids when they're used to build a wall, Thomas said.

John Casemier, who lives in the flood-prone VanLopik neighborhood in Robinson Township, said he put a stick in his yard to watch the river flooding level. He said it was still rising as of 6 p.m. Thursday.

Casemier, his wife Sue and their grandchild were planning to ride out the flooding at their home.

“It has to come up 2 and a half feet to get into the house,” he said. “That’s a lot.”

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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