The Tittabawassee river is suspected to reach water levels of anywhere from 24 feet to 34 feet on Wednesday, Apr. 17th through Friday, Apr. 19th. News media is encouraging anyone around areas prone to flooding to prepare for the increased water level and evacuate if the flooding becomes a major problem.
This is the highest expected flood level that has been seen in Midland, MI. since the flood of 1986 which happened 27 years earlier. The flooding level back then was 33.94 feet when it was originally estimated to be at 33.09 feet. The normal flood level for the Tittabawassee river is 24 feet, which means that in 1986 the water was 9.94 feet above the regular flood line. Since this flooding of the river is expected to exceed the normal 24 feet to be a record of 34 feet, the level of water will be 10 feet above the normal river level.
“This flood is more gradual, and the community is much more aware and prepared than in 1986,” said history teacher Ric Shahin.
For information on the exact problems that will occur if flood levels exceed 34 feet, water.weather.gov has a link explaining what will happen to streets at certain points of flooding. http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=dtx&gage=midm4 According to this link, if the flooding goes above 24 feet (the normal flood level) areas around the Currie golf course, Emerson Park and River Street will be flooded. Currie Bridge will also be closed which may cause inconveniences for Midland citizens. If the water level reaches the estimated 34 feet, Saginaw Road will flood and many homes will flood as well.
“If the flood gets as bad as predicted, I anticipate helping family, friends, and community in water diversion and cleanup,” Shahin said. “Where I live in Midland there is no risk of being stranded by water; however, others will not be as fortunate, and it is part of our concept of being a good citizen to help where we can.”
Northwood University students living in the housing near the river were told told to evacuate because they live in an area expected to flood. DHS was closed on Friday, April 19th due to MHS being used as a shelter for people in need of evacuation. The History center was also closed and they moved boxes from the basement to minimize damage caused by flooding. The National Weather Service alerts were given to residents in houses that are near the river or areas prone to flooding on Wednesday so residents who would be affected by the flood had plenty of time to prepare for the flood.
“Preparing for this flood is different in that I’ve moved objects off the basement floor of my house, my parents’ house, and some neighbors. We weren’t ready for that in 1986,” Shahin said.
Since this is the highest estimated flood level since 1986, it is recommended to take the precautions necessary to evacuate if it occurs. For more information, tune in to MGTV or other weather service channels.