February’s combination of heavy rainfall, warm temperatures and rapid snow melt led to multiple road closures in the Capital area due to flooding, but ultimately didn’t cause major damage to the City of Grand Ledge.
The City of Grand Ledge’s Planning and Communications Coordinator Hannah Bowman said members of the city’s government were busy at work that week trying to gauge the damage the storm system would bring.
“We have been extremely busy here with the weather conditions,” Bowman wrote in an email.
After the rain subsided following Feb. 23, Grand Ledge Police Chief Martin Underhill said that a few areas in Grand Ledge prone to flooding experienced some elevated water levels.
“The island experienced some flooding,” Underhill said, in reference to Island Park, a public park in the city’s downtown area.
According to the city’s “Island Park is situated in a wide section of the Grand River in downtown,” leaving it prone to flooding when heavy rainfall accumulates in the region and fills the river.
Grand Ledge city government closed Island Park for the duration of a National Weather Service-issued Flood Advisory, which lasted until Feb. 26. According to a map found on the City of Grand Ledge Government Facebook page, another public area – Jaycee Park – was also closed due to the floodwaters.
Chief Underhill said that other than those closures, there ultimately wasn’t any major damage to be concerned about.
“We actually didn’t experience a lot of major flooding here,” Underhill said. “I think it was mostly East Lansing and Lansing that saw the worst of it.”
Reports may have been limited for the downtown area, but residents in outlying regions of Grand Ledge – toward the Lansing area – said they did experience some minor flood damage.
Grand Ledge resident Josephine Powers said a combination of rain, rising river levels and poor water drainage systems in her rural neighborhood had an impact on her neighbors.
“We didn’t experience any flooding here,” Powers said of her own home. “But my neighbor experienced some flooding in his house.”
Powers’s neighbor confirmed that he had dealt with issues in his basement caused by flooding, but he declined to give his name.
According to reports obtained from the National Weather Service, last month’s significant flooding event began with the arrival of a long-lasting storm system during the week of Feb. 19.
On Friday, Feb. 23, following three days of steady rain at the beginning of the week, multiple rivers in the area reached flood stage. Heightened river levels led to numerous road closures in Lansing, East Lansing, Kalamazoo and the surrounding areas.
The arrival of spring in the coming weeks brings with it the possibility for similar rain and flooding situations. In these types of flood events – especially when rivers rise and road closures occur – the National Weather Service reports that more deaths occur due to floods than any other type of thunderstorm-related hazard.
For those in areas prone to significant flooding, the National Weather Service cautions that it is “NEVER safe to drive or walk into flood waters.”