An overhead view of flooding in the St. Charles area.
SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -
The County of Saginaw has declared a Local State of Emergency due to storms and severe flooding.
The area has been pummeled by heavy rains over the last two weeks, with several inches of rain falling in just last week alone. The rainfall has caused area rivers to swell and crest over their banks, spilling into low lying areas, roadways and residential yards.
All that rain has the National Weather Service declaring April 2013 the wettest on record for both Saginaw and Flint.
"Although the flood waters have moved beyond the crest stage, damage to property continues in progress and we are not able to assess much of the damage until the flood waters recede," said County Board of Commissioners Chairman Michael J. Hanley. "We are advised this declaration will maximize our chances of qualifying for state and federal assistance once our damage is fully assessed."
Once the amount of Michigan homes affected reaches 582 and the total cost increases to 13-million dollars, the Governor can lobby the President to make a proclamation of disaster areas in Michigan. That would free up FEMA dollars, making homes in the flood ravaged areas eligible for around 32-thousand dollars per home. But first, residents have to contact the county in which they live.
During the week of April 7 through the 14th, TV5 meteorologists report 4.25 inches of rainfall fell in Saginaw County. From April 16 through the 24th, 4.46 inches of rain has fallen, bringing the total for the month so far to 8.71 inches of rain. In contrast, the average rainfall for the month of April is 2.89 inches.
Flint was hit with 5.92 inches of rain.
"After consulting with various parties from local to state levels of government, I have decided to declare a State of Emergency in Saginaw County related to our ongoing flood event," said Hanley.
A flood warning was in effect for the Saginaw River. Flooding in the area has left homes, businesses and part of the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge under water.
Residents are urged to call the Saginaw County Emergency Operations Center at 989-790-5202 or 989-790-5243 to report damage.
Members of the volunteer Citizen Corps will be available to take reports from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The county says residents need to provide their name, address, telephone number and extent of damage to their property. Any individual who has a flood related emergency should call 911.
Residents with issues related to basic human necessities may also call 211, toll free at (888) 636-4211 or online at www.211nemichigan.org. Some people living in flooded areas are facing significant challenges right now and certain precautions should be taken:
Never use generators, grills or other gasoline/propane/charcoal burning devices indoors. These items produce carbon monoxide that can be deadly.
Do not let children play in or near floodwater or in areas that have flooded recently. Disinfect toys that may be contaminated and discard toys that may be contaminated with sewage.
Motorists should use caution while driving, as some area roads have deteriorated and may be impassable. Do not drive around barricades!
The flooding issues don't end there as several fishing spots in Saginaw County will be shut down for the first weekend of the Walleye Festival. The Imerman Memorial Park boat launch on M-47 in Saginaw Township is closed. The boat launch on Lee Street in Saginaw and Center Road in Saginaw Township is also closed.
Meanwhile, more than 150 people evacuated from their homes due to flooding in Kent County are back home. The evacuation order was lifted Wednesday night. More than a thousand people evacuated from the downtown Grand Rapids area will have to wait. The Grand River remains well above flood stage and it could be another week before things are back to normal.
Stay with WNEM.com and TV5 as we cover the severe flooding in Mid-Michigan. Tonight on TV5 News beginning at 5, we'll talk with Saginaw Township residents who have been hit hard by flooding.
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