Crooked Lake residents battling more floods ‘night and day’ after heavy rainfall

Posted at 7:57 PM, Jun 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-21 20:24:58-04

CROOKED LAKE, Mich. — When Deb Englehardt woke up Thursday morning, she put on her boots and rushed over to her neighbor’s house, she said. Her neighbor woke up to three inches of cold water throughout her home. So Englehardt and other people helped to get the furniture out of the house.

By evening, the floods had gotten so bad that her neighbor decided to move away,  Englehardt said.

“It was a very emotional day. Even talking about it, I get emotional,” Englehardt said with tears in her eyes. “We love [Crooked] lake. It’s a fabulous place to be.  We just have too much lake.”

Englehardt said not everyone on the lake is affected by the floods. However other residents were moving out too. In certain areas, people were dealing with at least eight inches of water in and around their homes.

"We wanted to live on the lake, we just didn’t want our house to be in the lake," Englehardt said. "So everybody's fighting very hard, night and day, trying to keep the water out of our homes."

Some of the excess water stems from heavy rains this week, which added 4-5 inches to the water level, Englehardt said. All of her neighbors on East Shore Drive have pumps. She has several running in her home and one gushes out 170 gallons of water per minute.

“We have hundreds of thousands of [sand]bags stacked up trying to keep it away from our homes and pumps going nonstop,” Englehardt said. “Between the three houses, I think we have 27 pumps going almost continually trying to keep the water out.”

Englehardt said they’ve been dealing with the floods since spring 2018 when Crooked Lake’s water level rose several feet after a wet and snowy winter.

Since then residents formed a task force group who met with local leaders, like the Barry County drain commissioner Jim Dull, periodically throughout the year  to talk about short-term and longterm solutions.

So far, two big pumps have been working over the last two weeks pumping out water into a retention pond on Delton Road, Dull said in a phone interview with FOX 17. However with all the rainfall this week he said it’s been hard to make steady progress.

“It scares me to death that this is going to last beyond what all of us are going to be able to do,” Englehardt said. “If it takes another year, or they’re saying 18 months to two years, I don’t know how people are going to survive this.”