Rain, melting snow and warmer temperatures recently caused some of the worst flooding Meridian Township residents have experienced in years.
The flooding caused nearly eight road closures, affecting most businesses and people in the local area. The flooding, which started on Feb. 22, spanned over several days. Okemos Road reopened Feb. 27. The flooding had taken its toll on many businesses as the days went by.
“The floods started on Thursday and it impacted our business throughout the entire weekend,” said Matt Farkaf, general manager of Leo’s Spirits and Grub in Okemos. “There was no access to Okemos Road or Grand River, so people would have to come to us through the Meijer parking lot.”
As far as having a plan for the road conditions, Farkaf knew this would impact his staff as well.
“We had a game plan to call people off of work when we knew the full outcome of the flood,” said Farkaf. “We prioritized on having the right amount of staff for the conditions that took place.”
Homeowners and businesses should have a plan for protecting themselves from flood damage, said Meridian Township Battalion Chief Mark Vroman.
“We can’t emphasize being proactive enough,” Mark Vroman said. “Those who are prepared, both homeowners and businesses, recover much more quickly. Businesses should have an emergency plan as to what they should do in the event of a flood. Will it impact the infrastructure? It’s best to have a plan in place, and is highly recommended by professionals.
“Be mindful and pay attention to the weather reports. Understand if you live in a flood prone area and if you have insurance. If there’s water if your room, it’s a hazard to your utilities. Shut off the gas and power to your home until the water has left. If water is still in the home, you may need a professional service to come out and remove the water.”
Some people prefer to play it safe, rather than going out in the dangerous conditions.
“I didn’t leave my house at all for the last few days,” said Meridian Township resident Ron Edelman. “I had heard about people trying to drive through the floods and getting their car stuck, and leaving my house wasn’t worth that risk. I haven’t seen flooding like this in decades.”