Flood Waters Rise As Kent County Declares A State Of Emergency

Posted at 11:10 PM, Apr 19, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-21 15:54:24-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – As Flooding concerns continue into the weekend precautions are already in place.

In Kent County, a state of emergency was declared on Friday.

As of Friday, 200 people have been evacuated from their homes in Wyoming and Comstock Park alone.

150 had to be rescued by boat, and the flooding is only expected to get worse in some areas over the weekend.

During a new conference on Friday, Kent County officials talked about the reasons they declared a state of emergency for the county.

Sheriff Larry Stelma said, “As the water continues to rise, and the wind gust pick up, the safety of our residents is going to be impacted.”

Both the JW Marriott and the Amway Grand Hotel were pumping a constant stream of water back into the Grand River where it came from.

Along the other river bank, 100 volunteers set up 7,000 sandbags to keep the public museum and other buildings in downtown Grand Rapids dry.

Kate Moore with the Public Museum in downtown said, “It’s just precautionary, so when the waters do rise as high as they are saying that we will be OK here.”

All of these precautions led the county’s emergency manager to declare a state of emergency in Kent County.

Jack Stewart, the emergency manager said, “To help assist with reimbursement with public damage and also open the door for public assistance from the government if available.”

Stewart said it’s the first step in getting federal help from FEMA.  The move makes it possible but not certain that those with homes underwater can get some help when the flood waters recede.