Flooding

Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

Water levels on the Great Lakes might finally start going down.

With the exception of Lake Superior, each of the Great Lakes have likely reached their peak water levels for the year, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


Peter Payette

Grand Traverse County residents are having a hard time coping with the Great Lakes’ near record high lake levels.

“We’re seeing unprecedented storms and high, high levels in the lakes and groundwater, and the combination is just causing a lot of issues unfortunately,” said Arthur Krueger, director of municipal utilities for Grand Traverse County.

One of these issues is regular flooding in basements of local homes and businesses. Some desperate residents have turned to illegal solutions.

Two floods, two weeks and too much water

Jun 11, 2020
Dan Wanschura

The second extreme rain event in two weeks has led to yet another sewage spill in the Boardman River in Traverse City.

 

A public health advisory has gone into effect, and the Grand Traverse County Health Department has advised the public to stay out of the water at beaches including Clinch Park, Sunset Park, Bryant Park and the Grand Traverse Senior Center. 

 

Dan Wanschura

The public health advisory for Grand Traverse County has been lifted today.

 

E. coli levels in the Boardman River have now returned to a safe level for full body contact with the water.

 

After heavy rains caused 54,000 gallons of sewage to leak from a manhole cover into the Boardman River last Thursday, several beaches and locations along the Boardman River were closed.  All of those locations are open and safe for use again.

 

Heavy rains flood Traverse City

May 28, 2020
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.

Jim Sorbie / Flickr

 

People who have homes on the sandy, eroding shores of Lake Michigan don’t have a lot of protections when it comes to insurance coverage. 

Regular homeowners insurance does not cover flooding or any land movement, including erosion of the land beneath a structure.

Banks that give loans to lakefront homes require flood insurance, which could possibly provide some erosion coverage.

The Association of State Floodplain Managers Alan Lulloff says erosion that happens after a storm could be covered.

Photo shows the inside of a culvert. It's square with concrete walls and a very shallow stream of water is running through it.
Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

Climate change is likely to bring more extreme rainfall and flooding to Michigan, so flood risk in the next 100 years will probably look very different than in the past.

Much of Michigan’s infrastructure — like culverts, bridges and storm drains — is still being designed and built based on the floods of the past.


The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration has given western Upper Peninsula counties a grant to rebuild flood-damaged roads.

How can cities reduce flooding caused by increasingly intense rain storms?

More often, it's flooding in areas not known for a lot of flooding in the past. That happened in Detroit in 2014. It caught everyone by surprise as interstates and neighborhoods were suddenly under water.

Record rainfall devastated large parts of Houghton County earlier this month. Flash flooding killed a 12-year-old boy when the basement of his house collapsed. It damaged hundreds of homes and caused at least $100 million in damage to infrastructure.

Caitlin Whyte

As winter nears, Lake Ontario is still much higher than normal. And residents are shoring up walls of sandbags for protection against high waves.

Monday’s monster thunderstorm in Metro Detroit was the second-heaviest single day of rainfall since Michigan started keeping records.

The rainstorm didn't just close freeways and roads and flood basements, it focused attention back on the often-overlooked problems with our transportation infrastructure.

Jeff Cranson is director of communications for the Michigan Department of Transportation.

“It is a good thing now that people realized that we’ve got a number of depressed freeways in Detroit,” says Cranson.

Gov. Snyder surveys Detroit flood damage

Aug 14, 2014
Paula C. McNichol sent to WDET

  Governor Rick Snyder says numerous state agencies are helping Detroit and surrounding communities deal with massive floods. He flew back from a trip to the Upper Peninsula to see the flood damage first-hand from a Michigan State Police helicopter.

Tom Carr

  The Boardman River and the upper Manistee have crested and are expected to fall slowly overnight. Both rivers reached record high levels Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service office in Gaylord.

Wexford County's state of emergency continued Tuesday, even as spring flooding in the region slowed. The county's worst-hit area is along the Manistee, north of Mesick.

Wexford Lieutenant Richard Denison says police in dry suits waded up to doorsteps of flooded homes to make sure nobody was stranded.

Roads Are Flooded Throughout Northern Michigan

Apr 14, 2014
Peter Payette

Several Northern Michigan counties have seen flooded out roads and homes.

Wexford County, on Monday, went in a local state of emergency due to flooding. Several roads closed with washouts all over the county.

In Emmet County, one lane of US-31 was closed in the Bay View area.

Brian Gutowski is with the Emmet County Road Commission. He says Monday the lane closure was due to the Tannery Creek flooding.

"We’ve got up to a foot of water right on US-31, and it’s flooding into a couple of the residential streets also, which are county roads," he said.