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River flooding could soon get much worse | News

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River flooding could soon get much worse

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Come Thursday, the Muskegon River and Grand River basins could see some of their highest water levels in decades, according to the National Weather Service.

WZZM 13 visited flooded areas across Kent County and found the Grand River at two to three feet above flood stage. Hydrologist Mark Walton says that's moderate flooding.

In two days the area could hit major flood stage.

Liz Koenig has yet to check her Grand Rapids home for flood damage on Tuesday afternoon. The Grand River rose and closed in too fast for her to get her waders. She lives across the river from the Fifth Third Ballpark.

"This is the worst out of the four years I've been here," she said.

Koenig attempted to get her kayak, which was stored under her house, but was unable because the water was already three feet above her foundation.

"I'm sure there's been a few things that have floated away, like a chair. But it's really scary thinking that it's going to come in the house," she said.

That's what people living in parts of Grandville, Comstock Park, Muskegon, and other pockets of West Michigan fear. Walton predicts it could happen come Thursday.

Worst-case scenario: Water levels near Koenig's home will rise another foot-and-a-half, to 16 feet. Walton says the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids could rise to 19 feet, and the Muskegon River basin could get 4.5 inches of rain.

Walton says that would raise water levels to their highest in 30 years.

"The unfortunate thing is, the models are showing the rain hitting the same area that hit last week. So that area is already saturated, we've already got river levels at high levels," said Walton.

While some of Koenig's neighbors are already in evacuation mode, she isn't panicking. "I'm feeling it's always an adventure. I mean, that's all it is, is an adventure and it's all a part of life to me. Got to love living on the water," she said.

Walton says what's most concerning about Thursday is the heavy rainfall expected in a short time period. He says that means the river will rise quickly and could lead to road washouts.

Walton adds the highest number of deaths come when people try to drive through flooded areas because you never know where the deep spots may be.


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