Lowell Battles Record Flooding

Posted at 8:00 PM, Apr 20, 2013

LOWELL, Mich. — The Grand River is rising in Lowell, and that’s causing the flat river to back up.

It put the city in an official state of emergency.

“It was important for us to declare a local state of emergency to let our county know that we had maximized our resources, which means we had every employee. We had every person working,” Mark Howe, the city manager explained.

“We had all our equipment mobilized,” Howe said. It’s not just a problem for property owners who are seeing flooded basements.

It’s a concern for motorists as the city fights to keep water off the bridge on Hudson Street.

“This morning we put up some concrete barricades,” Howe explained.

“We backfilled with sandbags, because we felt that what was being predicted by the National Weather Service, we’re gonna have a foot, maybe two feet of water over the road, and that was just going to make it impassible,” he continued.

So far Hudson Street is still open, with one lane in each direction. However, they’ve already had to close the only other bridge in town that is at Jackson Street.

Flooding also caused workers to block main. Police say it will remain that way through Sunday.

The closures caused Police Chief Barry Getzen to make a plea. “We’ve got the city opened for residents and business owners, service providers only,” he said.

“We’re trying to limit access into the city just to those people, because we’ve had a tremendous influx of people coming in to see the flood to see the water and that’s caused a tremendous problem for us getting emergency vehicles back and forth.”

“So if you don’t have to come to Lowell on an unofficial or will reason other than to look at the water, please just don’t come at this time,” Getzen said.

The Church of the Nazarene experienced flooding as a result of the flooding.

“We checked it last night everything was fine. We were all good and dry,” pastor Wes Hershberger said.

However, when he came back to Lowell’s Church of the Nazarene Saturday morning, he found about eight inches of water covering the basement floor.

He said the water seeped in through a backed up sewer.

Since the discovery, a couple of pumps have been working non-stop to clear the space.

“We had about 20 to 30 people that showed up today to help move furniture and start to pumping water and been busy all day long,”

His church sits east of the Flat River that flows into the Grand River.

This neighborhood sits near that waterway behind Main Street. It’s one of many blocked roads. Some properties are lined with sandbags both in and outside.

Flooding is obvious without having to set foot into the homes.

“Huge headache, you got all the basements are full of water. Got to take all the water out as soon as it all goes down,” Pat Potter said.

The Lowell Police Department said that they would have someone on hand to answer the phones to answer any questions. You can reach the department at 616-897-7123.