State Of Disaster Issued For Newaygo & Osceola Counties

Posted at 6:05 PM, Apr 17, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-17 18:05:01-04

WEST MICHIGAN (April 17, 2014) — A State of Disaster was issued for Newaygo and Osceola Counties on Thursday.

Gov. Rick Snyder make the announcement after the Muskegon River broke its banks causing homes to become submerged in several feet of water.

Inspectors on foot, dressed in waders, walked through Devils Hole along the river in Ottawa County, where they assessed the water levels.

“There are a lot of people who would like to get their power connected back up, so basically what we’re checking… power boxes to make sure they haven’t been affected by water,” Michael Hicks, certified emergency response team, said.

Terry Whitmyer, a homeowner in Devils Hole, is just one of more than 400 people dealing with what the rising waters left behind.

“Yesterday, the water was all the way in the door here,” Whitmyer said.

More than 6 inches of water climbed up the walls of Whitmyer’s summer home on Main Street.

“I’ve got to rip the carpet out, bring in a service crew to dry everything out,” Whitmyer said. “It brings in all the silt and all the mud from the river and you can see on the floor it’s everywhere.”

Whitmyer said he and his wife bought the home nearly 11 years ago as a vacation spot for their family.  He said he hopes to have the damage repaired by Memorial Day.

“We’ll have a big party once everyone’s ready to go,” Whitmyer said. “This is why grandpa’s got this place…for the grandchildren. You can see the sign on the wall that says, ‘what happens at grandma’s house stays at grandma’s house.'”

It’s not clear when the power will be restored for the residents in Newaygo County. The emergency manager said the Muskegon River is still a few feet above its normal level. Crews are asking people to watch out for debris and washed out roads. They’re also asking that everyone ties down their propane tanks.