Michigan Flood Ready

Michigan Flood Ready

In early March 2015, the National Weather Service (NWS) released its Michigan Spring Flood Outlook report for the upcoming spring. With a semi-warm days and cool nights forecasted in the near future, the NWS indicated there is a 5 to 20 percent flood risk for the state of Michigan, which is a typical spring. In 2014, the spring flood risk for Michigan was 40 to 90 percent.

What risk factors could cause greater flooding?

  • River ice jams.
  • Quick warm-up and rapid melting.
  • Intense or heavy rains.
  • A combination of the above.

What factors could improve the situation?

  • Cool temperatures with sunny weather.
  • Slow and gradual melt.
  • No rain or little or sporadic rains.
  • Slow erosion of the ice pack.

Where is the flood risk?

Flooding will depend on a delicate balance between time, temperature and rainfall. A slow melt and thaw will reduce the chances of flooding. For the latest flood risk location information, go to water.weather.gov.

Across the state, the amount of water within the snowpack is lower than last year. Although the flooding risk is minimal, river ice is thicker than what is typical this time of year, leading to an increased risk for river ice jam flooding. 

When did Michigan last experience widespread flooding?

In April 2014, heavy rains and a rapid snowpack melt flooded rivers in the north-central Lower Peninsula, resulting in a Governor’s disaster declaration for Isabella, Mecosta, Missaukee, Muskegon, Newaygo, Osceola, Roscommon and Wexford counties. Gov. Rick Snyder approved more than $1 million from the Disaster and Emergency Contingency Fund to help the affected counties and their communities recover from the incident.

In addition, President Barack Obama declared a major disaster for Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties on Sept. 25, 2014, due to severe flash flooding that occurred on August 11-13, 2014. This presidential declaration provided public assistance grants for affected state and local governments to rebuild roads, bridges and other public facilities and infrastructure. Eligible private non-profits were also eligible to apply. The declaration also provided individual assistance to residents in the three counties. As of January 2015, more than $268 million was provided in assistance to Michigan citizens. 

What should I do?

Emergency preparedness is the starting point for all Michiganders. Regardless of the potential threat or hazard, everyone must be prepared for any emergency by making a plan and creating an emergency preparedness kit. An emergency or disaster can happen at any time, to anyone. By planning ahead and creating a kit, you and your family will be better prepared for tomorrow. Check out the following flooding safety awareness topics: