Tittabawassee River crests at 28.5 feet, streets remain closed - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Tittabawassee River crests at 28.5 feet, streets remain closed

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(04/15/14) - Flooding problems persist for residents across Mid-Michigan.

In Midland County, some improvement is expected, but the Tittabawassee River continues to cause problems for residents and businesses in the Sanford area.

Emergency officials say the river has crested at 28.5 feet, as predicted. Selina Tisdale, the community affairs director for the city of Midland, says last year, it was about 28.6.

The Midland County office of emergency management submitted paperwork on Monday to declare a flood emergency for the area.

Some streets and roads are still closed near the Sanford Lake Dam, the farmers market is almost underwater and several residents are still unable to return to their homes. Sanford Park has also taken on a tremendous amount of water and the Sanford Rail Trail bridge is closed to traffic.

Generally, when Hellen and Chris Smith's grandchildren come to visit from New York, they're able to play outside around this area.

"When they come down here in the summer time, we go down to the Farmer's Market and they play over here and they run through the spray park and this is just a different scene for them to see a familiar place and unfamiliar circumstances," Helen said.

The couple is still in shock that the place they were hoping to take their grandchildren to play outside - is a flood zone.

"It's surprising to see that all those recreation areas that are on the flood plain are so much fun to go to in the summer time, you just can't get access to them when this happens," Chris said.

The Sanford Dam remains open and that meant a lot of water was flowing down the Tittabawassee River, right into James Earl Perry Jr. 's home.

"I'm just sick of looking at this water," Perry said.

His house is one of several in the village of Sanford that caught the brunt of the flooding. Perry is not sure when we will be able to get back into his house and see how much damage has been done.

"Everybody has water in their house here right now, it's a disaster as far as I'm concerned," he said.

Tisdale's office started talking to people who live in the county earlier this week about the river levels coming up. She says most folks that live along the Tittabawasse River are prepared for circumstances like this.

"Most folks that live along the Tittabawassee River know at what river level they get impacted, so we started reminding them that you need to put your emergency plan in place, move things out of the way," she said.

County leaders started reminding residents on Monday to have an emergency plan in place. There is an emergency shelter set up at Central Middle School in Midland, on East Reardon Street.

Tisdale believes that the worst of the flooding is almost over.

"Things are looking up, we don't have rain in the forecast, so that helps quite a bit. We're encouraging residents to continue to watch flood levels. If we have rain in the forecast, that will obviously change the game plan a little bit, but right now we should be seeing the worst of the flooding in the area and things should start looking up from here," she said.

Further south down the Tittabawassee River, in Saginaw County, the main problem has been road closures. A number of roads were closed because of flooding, including a busy intersection at the corner of Michigan and Center in Saginaw Township.

Although people are told not to drive through the water, a number still try. One car didn't make it through on River Road, which is also closed.

"We came across a car that was stranded in the middle of the water, it was just driving through the water, and all the water got up in the vehicle and caused it to stall out and they were stranded," said Mike Cousins, Thomas Township fire chief.

Cousins says not only can the water sweep a car away, roads beneath the water have been washing out as well.

"They are barricaded for a reason, you don't know the condition of the road underneath the water," he said.

While emergency responders are monitoring the situation, the flooding has not been too severe in Saginaw County.

"It may not be as bad as first thought," Cousins said.

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