This post was updated as we learned news related to the rising waters in West and mid-Michigan. To see how events unfolded from Friday through Sunday night, scroll down and read up.
To read about current news related to the flooding, see this new post.
Sunday, April 21st, 9:30 p.m.
At nearly 22 feet, Michigan’s longest river is very near where the National Weather Service is predicting it will crest in Grand Rapids. The Grand River’s flood stage there is 18 feet.
City officials were confident the waste water treatment plant (that serves around a dozen other neighboring communities) will make it through the night, thanks in part to a massive sandbag wall lining the perimeter.
Over the weekend the city moved around $3 million dollars in equipment that’s not needed for the emergency to drier locations, just in case.
The flooding means the plant is processing more than triple the usual amount of water. Over the last three days, the city says the plant has treated 150 million gallons of water a day, compared to an average of 42 million gallons a day.
People are still being asked to conserve water; take shorter showers, hold off on washing laundry and dishes.
“We expect to be safe through the night,” the city’s Environmental Services Manager Mike Lunn said in a written statement.
“The combined performance of our flood walls, our pumps, professional staff, and volunteers has been truly amazing. We must, however, continue to be diligent in monitoring the situation,” Lunn said.
The city is no longer calling on people to help fill and move sandbags, for now.
“I can’t possibly imagine what else we could do to react to this situation,” Mayor George Heartwell said, “We realize that things could change dramatically in the next few days with more rain or if issues associated with structures – such as buildings, walls, or bridges - arise.”
The crest will head to Grandville soon, where the city library is now taking on some water in the basement.
In Lowell, upstream from Grand Rapids, the water is already beginning to recede. There’s been very limited access into the city, with a number of bridges closed. But the barricades are predicted to move off Main Street before the Monday morning commute.
Sunday 4:30 p.m.
Electricity is being rerouted in Grand Rapids because of the flooded Grand River.
Officials from Consumers Energy said Sunday there are four high voltage distribution lines that run just under the Fulton Street bridge.
The water is high enough there's a concern that big trees or other debris floating down the river could snag the lines and cause safety concerns so they’ve de-energeized the lines. Electrical services have not been impacted because of the move.
Once the river recedes they’ll reopen the bridge. But officials couldn’t estimate how long that will be.
The Grand River is expected to crest Monday around 2 a.m. at 22.3 feet.
At a press conference Sunday afternoon Mayor George Heartwell thanked the hundreds of volunteers who’ve been filling and stockpiling 6,000 sandbags an hour over the weekend. He called for more volunteers this afternoon and evening.
“Even though we’re the most incredible volunteering city in the world, we need more,” Heartwell said, “Please help us protect our city.”
City-owned buildings have already been lined with the bags. So the 50,000 that remain are primarily for residents and business owners who need then, “or the possibility that the skies open up again this week, we get a ton of rain and we get a resurgence of these levels.”
Rain is in the forecast as early as Tuesday.
Michigan’s second largest city remains under a state of emergency because of significant property damage to a number of buildings in the downtown area.
It’s estimated that around a thousand residents in mid and west Michigan have been evacuated from their homes. Some have already been able to return.
Sunday 11:10 a.m.