Overnight Rains Could Send Ice on Rivers Loose; Flood Concerns

Posted at 8:25 PM, Jan 29, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-29 21:53:37-05

GRAND HAVEN, Mich.- For the second day, the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids is monitoring major rivers like the Grand and Muskegon, for potential ice jams resulting in flooding. While Hydrologist Mark Walton watches gauges and reports from the office, he relies on emergency managers to report back to him in the field. As of Tuesday night, the major areas of concern were the Portage River near Vicksburg, Grand River near Robinson Twp. and the Muskegon River in Rogers Heights.

“We were hoping today that possibly some of the ice would move out before the next rainfall event and that hasn’t happened.” Walton said, “We keep adding dominos and keep adding fuel to the fire in hydrology, so we keep adding moisture and we still have ice on the rivers and so that’s not a good thing.”

At this point, Walton added that there is plenty of room in the rivers to handle a lot of water going in to them, so that’s in our favor. However, the ice is always a wild card, so if we start to get ice jams, things could change in a hurry, he stated.

Mary Klumpp has lived along the Grand River in Robinson Twp. for roughly 15 years. “Been through it a couple of times before. This morning we were just making sure everything was all taken care of. I got my car out of the way and put it up.” she said.

Her family loves living along the river, but said this time it is a double edge sword because the river needs the water, but she does not need the flooding. The Great Lakes, especially Lake Michigan are extremely thirsty.

“Just for water deficit reduction, this is a great thing because most of the moisture is coming from outside the basin so it’s not just lake effect snow that’s being recycled, so the beauty of it this is we’ve got basically this moisture is coming from the Gulf or Pacific Ocean so it’s coming way up from a different area.” Walton stated.

With the ground still frozen, water has no way of soaking in. Walton points out that side roads could become very slick when things freeze back over.