Flood Watch leaves Midland County on high alert - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Flood Watch leaves Midland County on high alert

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(04/17/13) - The thought of new rain storms is scary for many people who are still dealing with the effects of last week's heavy storms.

That's especially true in Midland County, where a flood watch is scheduled.

The county is on high alert and all eyes are on the Tittabawassee River.

Some roads are still closed after last week's heavy rain. Wednesday afternoon, the Tittabawassee River was below flood stage at 24 feet, but was rising. It's expected to crest at 32 feet Saturday. That's just one foot below the 100-year flood stage.

The last time Midland County experienced flooding at the anticipated level was back in 1986, when the Tittabawassee River reached 34 feet. Some homeowners remember that flood, and they are dreading the possibility of another one like it.

That flood happened in early September. Mid-Michigan was soaked with 6 to 12 inches of rain over two days, causing rivers to rise fast.

Many communities started sandbagging, but in the end, hundreds of homes and business were flooded, streets became rivers and farmers lost their crops right before harvest.

One of the hardest hit areas was Vassar. The Cass river crested at nearly 25 feet - that's more than 10 feet above flood stage.

When it was all over, the flood caused $500 million in damage and 22 Michigan counties were declared disaster areas.

Wednesday, emergency management advised people to be prepared for the worst.

"We'll have a lot of streets closed, we'll have some homes and businesses flooded, and it will be a pretty serious event for the community, so we're trying to get out ahead this, give people some advanced notice so they can make preparations," said Roger Garner.

Homeowners who live in the high risk flood areas are praying things won't be as bad as predictions indicate.

"There is not much you can do to stop Mother Nature," said homeowner Mark Sadek. "As long as it doesn't get up to 32 feet, I think we might be OK."

Firefighters here have been going door to door in neighborhoods that are in considered high risk flood areas. They're passing out flyers, warning residents about the flood watch and urging them to prepare.

"It's very important to give residents a heads up so the water doesn't overwhelm them and perhaps catch them in their homes when they can't get out," said Lt. Gregg Grobell, Midland Fire Station 3.

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