Heavy rains flood Traverse City

May 28, 2020

A paddler in the middle of Cedar Street on Traverse City's west side.
Credit Gretchen Carr

  

Heavy rains Thursday afternoon left parts of Traverse City underwater.

During the height of the storm, about 2.5 inches of rain were recorded in less than an hour, according to Grand Traverse County’s emergency management supervisor Gregg Bird.

“In the Meijer parking lot, there was a person who got stranded in the high water, and it was probably over three feet deep,” Bird said.

Buildings near Kids Creek, including Munson Medical Center and Building 50 on the Grand Traverse Commons, had flooding in their basement levels.

A full assessment of the water damage will begin on Friday morning, Bird said. He was not aware of any significant damage on Thursday evening.

The heavy rains also caused sewage to leak into the Boardman River out of a manhole cover near the intersection of North Union Street and Front Street.

The exact amount of sewage released is still unknown, says Daniel Thorell, director of environmental health at the Grand Traverse County Health Department.

“When we first found out about it around 3 p.m. we had figured there had been about 10,000 gallons so far, but to my knowledge I don’t know that it’s been fixed yet.  I think it’s still actually happening,” Thorell said at 5 p.m. Thursday evening. 

The rain should dilute the water enough to prevent long-term effects on the river, Thorell said.  But in the short-term, citizens are advised to stay out of the water.

“I think it’s going to take some time before the river lowers,” he said “I think we may have some high E. coli levels in the water for a few days until that happens.”

The only place that seems to have been seriously affected by Thursday’s rain showers is the western Traverse City area, according to Jeff Lutz at the National Weather Service in Gaylord.