DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The American Red Cross has been responding to flooding situations throughout the state — due to the heavy rains. Over 130 volunteers are working around the clock to prepare shelters and plan for weather related incidents this weekend.
Michigan’s already overflowing rivers kept rising as a wave of severe thunderstorms pushed through the state Thursday, forcing some people to evacuate and knocking out power to thousands of homes and businesses. CBS 62 Chief Meteorologist Jim Madaus said water levels could keep rising as up to four inches of rain fall on parts of the state through Friday.
The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for the Lower Rouge River in Inkster and Dearborn; the Rouge River in Detroit; and the Clinton River in Sterling Heights and Clinton Township. These flood warnings are in effect until further notice.
As of 1 p.m., the counties of Midland, Osceola, Ottawa and Newaygo each declared a local state of emergency due to storms and severe flooding.
Locally, we’ve missed the worst it, said Alison Koenigbauer, with the Red Cross Southeast Michigan Region.
“Right now what we’re doing is we’re monitoring the rivers that we see that could climb — the River Raisin in Monroe Coutny and in Lenewee County, the Huron River in Washtenaw County,” Koenigbauer said. “We’re monitoring those to make sure that they stay where they’re at and don’t rise.
“And if they do, we’re prepared to help the communities if there is flooding,” she said.
The Red Cross has opened up eight shelters in the communities of Grand Rapids and Midland, hardest hit by the flooding.
The weather service says the Rouge River and Clinton River will be above flood stage early Friday morning and will crest Friday evening. The Rouge River is expected to reach about 2 feet above flood range, while the Clinton River is expected to reach about 1.5 feet above flood range.
The flooding is even more serious on the west side of the state. In the Grand Rapids suburb of Wyoming, Mayor Jack Poll declared a state of emergency Thursday and officials issued an evacuation order for some areas. The city called in available police, firefighters and public works employees and is making sand bags and sand available.
Workers were using inflatable boats to rescue some people living along the Buck Creek, a Grand River tributary. In Grand Rapids, five children were carried from a stalled vehicle through a flooded West Michigan street.
The Grand River is expected to crest Monday about six feet over flood stage, or when the river first tops its banks, in the Grand Rapids area on Monday. The water was 3.1 feet above flood stage Thursday at Comstock Park and 2.2 feet above in Ottawa County’s Robinson Township, according to the National Weather Service.
The Saginaw River was 2.8 feet above flood stage Thursday and expected to crest 5.8 feet over the weekend, while the Pine River was 2.1 feet over flood stage at Alma.
About 70,000 DTE Energy Co. customers lost power after severe thunderstorms rolled through the area Thursday, mostly in Oakland and Washtenaw counties. By Friday morning, about 19,000 remained without power. (Latest on the outages here).
Winds could cause more outages later Friday. A wind advisory has been issued for the metro Detroit region, in effect until 10 p.m. Madaus said there will be sustained winds at 25 to 30 mph from the west-southwest, with gusts between 40 and 50 mph.
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