Flood threats for Mid-Michigan - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Flood threats for Mid-Michigan

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(03/18/14) - The spring season arrives early Thursday afternoon.

Now that most of the snow has melted, there is growing concern about where all that water is going - especially with the likelihood of more rain in the coming weeks.

It's Flood Safety Awareness Week across the country, and the timing is no coincidence. Rising waters are a threat as we begin our transition from winter to spring.

Less than a week ago, melting snow created plenty of ponds and puddles on Mid-Michigan roads. For the past 100 days, we've had measurable snow on the ground in the Flint area, as well as the third snowiest on record with nearly 82" inches measured.

Bare ground can now be seen, thanks to a higher sun angle and higher temperatures we're getting more consistently, but the frozen ground still can't absorb much moisture, and that means county officials are busy monitoring weather conditions for potential flooding.

"My concern is that we have a number of areas in our county that are within the flood plain," said Robert Pickell, Genesee County Sheriff.

Although our thaw has been gradual, rivers will continue to swell as more melted snow feeds into them. Any additional rainfall or big snowstorms could greatly increase the chances for flooding. Ice damming is also a threat.

"We monitor very closely the Flint River because, it would split the city in half. It's done that before. You have to go back a lot of years, but with our record snowfall we had, almost anything is possible," Pickell said.

One precaution you can take is inspecting your sump pump to help keep water out of your home.

"That's something that's really a very simple thing, but if you lose power and that sump pump goes out, and not everyone can afford a back-up. But, those that can afford a back-up should have a back-up," Pickell said.

There are plenty of good online resources available to monitor rising water in Mid-Michigan.

One can be reached through the National Weather Service, HERE. You can click on a link to learn more about flood-related topics, such as the difference between a Flood Watch and a Flood Warning.

Another good resource gives you a current look at river levels, HERE. The colored bars on the right will quickly let you know which rivers are within their banks, and which ones are flooding. Clicking on one of the colored squares or circles gives you vital information on the river you choose, including whether it is rising or falling.

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