GRATIOT COUNTY, Mich. — Flooding concerns forced authorities to call for nearly 200 evacuations in the Alma area.
Residents in Gratiot County were being told to evacuate areas around the Pine River due to flooding concerns Friday.
Early Friday morning, as waters climbed at a fast pace, police and fire officials went door to door asking people to evacuate.
They also began leaving notices for those who didn’t answer the door.
Angela Jarvis was one of the residents who chose to evacuate after getting the notice.
“I got woke up at 6:30 in the morning to a knock at my door,” said Jarvis.
She decided to listen to the warning and quickly packed to get her cat Bella to safety at the home of her boyfriend’s mother.
The swollen river was rushing at a brisk pace over the dam off Ely Street throughout the day.
Although it appeared to threaten the possibility of going over the Woodsworth Street Bridge, the water began to recede later in the day.
City Manager Phillip Moore said the Pine River peaked at 9.62 feet early in the day Friday, then had started dropping and was at 9.58 feet by about 3:00 pm.
“It’s a very good sign,” said Moore. “We’re very pleased it does seem to be improving.”
Resident Leroy Richards was in the evacuation zone on Ely Street near Riverside Park.
He chose not to evacuate although the situation reminded him of a similar flood in 1986.
Moore said in 1986, the river reached 12.82 feet.
“I’m not as fearful right now. If that dam goes, I’m out of here,” said Richards.
Moore said they will be keeping an eye on precipitation over the weekend to make sure the river levels don’t begin to rise again.
If they continue to recede, he says some residents might be safe heading back to their homes as early as Saturday.
However, the river is still expected to be running higher than normal through Sunday.