Grand River above flood stage in Robinson Township

Matt DeYoung • Jan 12, 2017 at 5:50 PM

Update: The Grand River at Robinson Township was measured at 13.65 feet at 3 p.m. Friday. That’s over its flood stage of 13.3 feet. Minor flooding is occurring in that area.

Read the new story: Grand River swells in Robinson Township

Original story:

ROBINSON TWP. — The Grand River has risen steadily over the past 24 hours and is currently just an inch away from reaching its flood level at Robinson Township, Ottawa County Emergency Services Director Beth Thomas said Thursday.

With the Grand River measuring at 13.2 feet, the National Weather Service has declared a flood warning for the river at Robinson Township. 

“The expectation is that it’s going to reach flood level within the next 24-48 hours,” Thomas said late Thursday afternoon. “That means it will be just over the banks.”

The flood warning is in effect until Thursday, Jan. 19.

Thomas noted that the river hit flood stage on Jan. 14 last year. 

“In 2014 and 2015, we didn’t reach flood stage,” she said.

It’s not unusual for the river to rise during the winter months, when ice flowing down the river collects, often at a shallow spot or a bend in the river. That back-up impedes the flow of river water, causing the level to rise. 

“This is what the National Weather Service classifies as minor flooding,” Thomas said, “although it’s different if you’re a homeowner (in an area threatened by flooding).”

She said precipitation would speed the river’s rise, while a stretch of warmer weather could help break up the ice jam. 

“It’s good that we’re not getting any rain on top of it,” Thomas said. “If we were to have warmer weather that would hold on, the ice would then break up and eventually go out to the lake.”

The forecast calls for temperatures at or below freezing through Sunday, then a warm-up to a high of 44 and rain by Tuesday. 

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