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Kalamazoo County residents dealing with flood damage after heavy rains

Flooding in Kalamazoo
Posted at 5:30 PM, Sep 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 08:59:52-04

KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. — Rain will continue across the state and in West Michigan with more expected over the weekend.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has acknowledged there are a few areas of Kalamazoo County that are in "flood-risk" zones.

Those homeowners in the designated zones are the only ones in the county who are seeing the water damage every time there is heavy rain.

"I started experiencing water coming into my home over the past two or three years," said Milwood neighborhood resident Monica Washington Padula.

Monica Washington Padula has lived in the Milwood neighborhood of Kalamazoo for five years and said her home isn't in the "flood-risk" area.

"As some installations in my home have settled, it has actually created problems with flooding in parts of my home. It’s mostly the parts that are closer to the ground, and as the water is rising up, it is starting to come into my home," said Padula.

The water has created damage to her floors and even ceilings, pooling in corners outside of her house.

Another area resident said her home is known by neighbors as the "house that floods."

"It needs to rain heavily for an extended period of time. That's what ends up saturating the ground to the point where, you know, properties are affected," said ServiceMaster of Kalamazoo's Business Development Manager Joe Nespodzany.

ServiceMaster of Kalamazoo is just one of the many water-damage companies who help residents clean up from flooding. Oftentimes, it doesn't come cheap.

"With groundwater, it's typically not an insurance-covered claim, so that ends up being out of pocket. Overall, if you look at all of the water losses of any kind that we get throughout a year, the average would be like $2,000 to $3,000," said Nespodzany.

RELATED: Flood insurance rates set to change as FEMA revamps program

Luckily, Padula said she has been able to clean up the water mess with a mop and towels, but others may not have that ability or the resources to fix unexpected damage.

"For me, you know, I have a bit more benefit because I don’t have very bad flooding, but I can imagine how it could be really difficult for someone who is in a 'flood-risk' area, for someone that doesn’t have any other place to keep their valuables or more of their home is being flooded," said Padula.

She said even for herself, it would be helpful to have more guidance and resources from city officials and community organizations.

"Equitable access and intentional breaking down of barriers to receiving things, so making it really obvious what funds are available and how to get them, having people be able to walk folks through how to get help," said Padula.

The city of Kalamazoo told FOX 17 News they have assessed the situation. As of Thursday, they did not plan to go into flood stage, as the National Weather Service had not released any watches or warnings.

ServiceMaster of Kalamazoo is open 24/7, 365 days a year to help with water damage. If you need their services, you can call 269-344-3600 or visit their website.

RELATED: Your West Michigan forecast

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