Flood warning, wind advisory for Ottawa County

Mark Brooky • Oct 23, 2017 at 5:39 PM

The National Weather Service office in Grand Rapids has issued a flood warning and a wind advisory for Ottawa County.

The flood warning is now in effect until 4:30 p.m. Wednesday for Ottawa, Allegan, Kent, Muskegon, Newaygo and Oceana counties.

The wind advisory is in effect until 3 a.m. Wednesday for Ottawa, Muskegon and Allegan counties. Winds will be gusting over 45 mph, creating travel problems for high-profile vehicles. Halloween decorations and garbage bins will be blowing over.

The rain was tapering off Tuesday night, but storm totals were generally in the 3- to 5-inch range, with locally higher amounts.

Water levels were still rising on the rivers and larger streams and creeks. Macatawa River near Zeeland, Plaster Creek near Grand Rapids, Bear Creek near Muskegon and Pigeon River near Olive Center were still showed rising water levels Tuesday night. Thus, the risk for water over the roads with some closures along with poor drainage flooding will continue through early Wednesday.

Water levels should start falling on Wednesday.

Report flooding to your local law enforcement agency when you can do so safely.

A flood warning means that flooding is imminent or occurring. All interested parties should take necessary precautions immediately.

Grand Haven-area forecast

Wednesday: A chance of showers before 11 a.m., then a slight chance of showers after 2 p.m. Partly sunny, with a high near 49. Northwest wind 6 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

State Police urge residents to prepare for possible flooding

LANSING — With some parts of Michigan expected to see severe weather and heavy rainfall today through Tuesday, the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) is encouraging residents and visitors to prepare for possible flooding.

The National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting three to six inches of heavy rain which could lead to flooding in portions of western and mid-lower Michigan. The heaviest rain is expected to affect residents along U.S. Route 127 and Interstate 96, including the cities of Grand Rapids, Mt. Pleasant, Cadillac and Gaylord. The NWS is also predicting wind gusts up to 65 mph along Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula which could cause widespread power outages.

“Flash flooding has the ability to be life-threatening and damaging,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “To be prepared and safe, residents should protect their property against any flooding hazards and double-check to ensure they are covered by insurance. If you must travel, please be careful and do not drive through any flooded roads.”

While flooding is most prevalent near low-lying areas and bodies of water, it can occur almost anywhere, including near small streams, creeks and even in basements. Flash floods are the No. 1 cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S., according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Preparing for a flood

Create an emergency preparedness kit with a 72-hour supply of water, including three gallons per person.

Put important documents and valuables in a water-proof container on the top floor of your home. Reconsider storing your valuables in the basement.

Create an inventory of your household items and take photos of the interior and exterior of your home.

Consider installing sewer backflow valves to prevent flood water from backing up into your home through drain pipes.

Double-check sump pumps to ensure they are working properly. If possible, have a battery backup system.

Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers and creeks during heavy rainfall. These areas can flood quickly and with little warning.

Make sure your neighborhood storm drains are clear of debris. Clogged storm drains contribute to flooding roadways.

Driving in a flood

Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious. Turn around, don’t drown. Just six inches of moving water can knock you down and two feet of water can sweep your vehicle away.

Do not drive around a barricade. Barricades are there for your protection. Turn around and go the other way.

Do not try to take short cuts, they may be blocked. Stick to designated routes.

Be especially cautious driving at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

During a power outage

Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report electrical hazards to police and the utility company.

Use battery powered lanterns, if possible, rather than candles to light homes without electrical power. If you use candles, make sure they are in safe holders away from curtains, paper, wood or other flammable items. Never leave a candle burning when you are out of the room.

Avoid actions that can result in dangerous levels of carbon monoxide:

o Do not use a grill indoors.

o Do not use an unvented gas or kerosene heater.

o Do not use a generator inside a home or garage. Keep these devices outdoors, away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.

o Do not use an oven or stove to heat your home.

Use extreme caution when driving, especially if traffic signals are out. When a signal at an intersection loses power and there are no other traffic control devices (e.g., stop sign, yield sign, temporary signal, temporary sign) or police officers present at that intersection to provide direction, the intersection is subject to the general right-of-way requirements of MCL 257.649, which provides:

The driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection shall yield the right of way to a vehicle which has entered the intersection from a different highway.

When two vehicles enter an intersection from different highways at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right of way to the vehicle on the right.

In addition to flooding preparedness, residents are encouraged to purchase flood insurance. Homeowners’ or property owners’ insurance does not typically cover flood damage.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) estimates that 90 percent of all natural disasters involve flooding. An inch of water can require a property owner to replace carpet, drywall, floor boards, moldings, doors and other belongings. Additionally, clean up of mud and residue can be costly, as can repairing any mold and mildew damage that may occur.

For more information about what to do before, during and after flooding, go to www.michigan.gov/miready.

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