My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

The flood of April 2013

My hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan is experiencing record flooding right now, due to heavy rainfall this month.

This is from a local meteorologist’s blog about how much rain we’ve had.

Officially, Thursday, April 2013 is the wettest April calendar day in Grand Rapids weather history with 3.3″ of rain.  We’ had 14 days in a row with measurable rain (Saturday we had a trace of snow).  We’ve had 9.84 of rain in 14 days, setting a record for the most rain ever in any April.  Serious flooding has shut down dozens of roads and flooded hundreds of basements. Record flooding is occurring on the Grand River in Kent Co.”

So on my way back from a day spent chasing birds in Muskegon, Michigan, I stopped off on my way home and shot a few photos of downtown Grand Rapids. This also gave me a chance to try out my new EF S 15-85 mm lens.

The Grand Rapids flood of 2013

The Grand Rapids flood of 2013

That’s the Sixth Street dam under all that water. This is what it looks like normally.

Sixth Street dam in GR

Sixth Street dam in GR

The Grand Rapids flood of 2013

The Grand Rapids flood of 2013

The Grand Rapids flood of 2013

The Grand Rapids flood of 2013

The Grand Rapids flood of 2013

The Grand Rapids flood of 2013

The Grand Rapids flood of 2013

The Grand Rapids flood of 2013

Red-winged blackbird in the floodwaters

Red-winged blackbird in the floodwaters

Mallards in the floodwaters

Mallards in the floodwaters

Fishing on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library

Fishing on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library

The Grand Rapids flood of 2013

The Grand Rapids flood of 2013

Pumps trying to keep basements from flooding

Pumps trying to keep basements from flooding

The Grand Rapids flood of 2013

The Grand Rapids flood of 2013

The Grand Rapids flood of 2013

The Grand Rapids flood of 2013

Part of the Grand Rapids museum

Part of the Grand Rapids museum

Are we going the way of the Titanic?

Are we going the way of the Titanic?

There's still snow banks left in places

There’s still snow banks left in places

The river crested today, and is just starting to fall, good news for every one living near the river. Several of the Hotels and condo buildings downtown had to be evacuated, the building that my friend Mike lives in is one of them.

The good news is that the river is going down, the bad news is that it may be a week or more before the damage is repaired, and people will be able to return to their homes. Mike is lucky, he lives on the 23rd floor, so his belongings are high and dry, not so for many other people who will return to homes filled with slimy, stinky river mud.

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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19 responses

  1. It’s amazing how destructive water can be. I hope they don’t find too much real damage when the water recedes.

    April 22, 2013 at 6:16 am

    • Yes it is, moving water cuts down mountains over time. The damage shouldn’t be too bad, they purposely flooded several of the buildings to equalize the pressure inside and out on the buildings. So other than a few broken first floor windows and mud, things could be much worse.

      April 22, 2013 at 9:06 am

  2. Water is a subtle and impressively powerful force, and it is exemplified by so much our landscape. I live in St. Louis, MO and we are getting flooding from our waterways of the “Not in 20 years” variety, as opposed to the usual river swelling of spring. It can get scary, but at least we are getting rain this year. Now, if the weather patterns would just find some sort of tempered rhythm…

    April 22, 2013 at 7:25 am

    • Thanks for the comment. I have a friend who lived in St. Louis for many years, you have real floods down there, getting the water from two major rivers. I almost didn’t post about our flood, as while it is bad for this area, it’s nothing like what people in other parts of the country have to go through.

      April 22, 2013 at 9:09 am

      • Yeah, but it is still a flood, regardless of level or destruction, and THAT is always something to see. Your post here has inspired me to try to get out today and take some pictures if I get the chance. Our rivers are going to be cresting in the next few days, and there are a lot of places under water.

        April 22, 2013 at 10:10 am

      • Just be careful out there, we’ve had a few people rescued, two while trying to kayak during record flooding, and a couple that got too close to the water, and were pulled in.

        April 22, 2013 at 12:43 pm

  3. A lot of water. We haven’t had a flood like that since 1977 and we are hoping not to have another one. At least you got a sunny day to record it for us.

    April 22, 2013 at 9:23 am

    • Thanks, Let’s hope that no one has any flooding, but sadly, as long as there are rivers, they will flood.

      April 22, 2013 at 9:25 am

  4. Flooding in urban areas are becoming common around the world, as is “unusual” weather patterns. The rivers and water ways have been there before man was so they’re just “acting normal”. I remember walking out in knee deep water last year to test my then brand new DSLR – what a feeling eh?

    I lost a lot of old pictures and documents when our home got flooded in 2009 and it “traumatised” my kids, but it also taught them a healthy fear and respect of the power of nature which is always a good thing in my book.

    It’s just sad when people die as a result of floods. That’s the part that affects me the most.

    I hope you are all right?

    April 22, 2013 at 11:39 am

    • Thanks! We are very fortunate in that there have been no deaths or injuries, but a couple of idiots tried. Out kayaking in record flooding, they got in trouble and had to be rescued. I hope they are thanking their lucky stars today.

      April 22, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      • Hahaha…folks here take to the boats/kayaks to help rescue other people or to get out of their homes to get supplies if stranded. I think after 2 floods most have learned the difference between “trying their luck”, “showing off” and common sense.

        April 23, 2013 at 6:08 pm

      • Thanks. Paddling the flooded backwaters would be OK, but the people who were rescued were out in the full force of the main current, and the rapids that gave the city of Grand Rapids its name.

        April 24, 2013 at 2:04 am

  5. These photos are so shocking. I had heard just a little about flooding, but I didn’t know it was in your country. Water is so powerful and destructive. I hope that everyone comes out all right with this natural disaster.

    April 23, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    • Thanks, fortunately, no injuries or deaths, and the damage seems to be minimal, other than flooded basements.

      April 24, 2013 at 2:06 am

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  7. We’ve more than recovered from our drought here last year, but we haven’t flooded, thankfully! You can see the power in all of that water sweeping across your pictures. That’s nothing to take for granted.

    April 25, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    • Glad to hear that it isn’t flooding in Ohio, you get serious floods down there!

      April 26, 2013 at 2:07 am

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