Flooding in the Midwest, South Worsens; Water Rises at Michigan State University; Evacuations as Far South as Dallas

All Client Alert
February 22, 2017

Please see below for reported approximate areas containing flooded properties:

Michigan
Comstock Township (Kalamazoo County, 49001, 49034, 49041, 49048, 49053, 49074)
Lansing (Ingham County, 48864, 48901, 48906, 48910, 48911, 48912, 48915, 48916, 48917, 48919, 48922, 48924, 48929, 48930, 48933, 48937, 48951, 48956)
Niles (Berrien/Cass counties, 49120)

Texas
Dallas (near White Rock Creek)
Rockwall (Rockwall County, 75032, 75087)

For thousands who live near waterways from Texas to Michigan, persistent flooding was expected to continue through the weekend, worsening in some areas before it gets better.

In numerous towns from the South to the Midwest, homes have been turned into islands and school days have been canceled because there's no way to get to the building. In East Lansing, Michigan, floodwaters rose on the campus of Michigan State University because of the swollen Red Cedar River, causing some classes to be moved to non-flooded areas.

"Be careful if you're trying to come to campus," said Lansing Mayor Andy Schor, as reported by the Associated Press. "Changing conditions are affecting not only the roads but sidewalks and walkways."

At least six Lansing neighborhoods were issued voluntary evacuations in areas where the Grand River was expected to overtake homes, the AP also said.

At least three deaths have been blamed on the floods. A 1-year-old girl was found dead in standing water in her family's Michigan backyard Wednesday, state police told the AP. The child reportedly wandered away from her home in Fairplain Township and entered the water.

Another death was reported Wednesday near Stilwell, Oklahoma, when 53-year-old Victor French attempted to drive across a flooded bridge and was swept off the road, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol announced.

Illinois State Police said a 52-year-old woman died early Tuesday morning when her vehicle rolled into a flooded ditch and was submerged along Illinois Route 45 near Peotone, the Chicago Tribune reported. Peotone Fire Chief William Schreiber told the Tribune that several other vehicles were recovered from the flooded intersection, but they didn't discover this particular car until hours later.

"At five o'clock in the morning, it was dark. We could not see that vehicle," Schreiber told the Tribune. Peotone is located about 45 miles south of Chicago.

Arkansas

Major flooding was reported in parts of central Arkansas as floodwaters continued to rise Friday. In Pulaski County, where numerous roads were closed, the Jacksonville North Pulaski School District canceled classes Friday because of widespread flooding, KATV.com reported.

State highways in at least 13 counties were impacted by flooding statewide, according to ArkansasMatters.com.

Indiana

Flooding problems were reported in several parts of the Hoosier State, and in Elkhart County, crews in boats rescued residents from a dozen homes along the Baugo Creek, according to the AP.

"I ended up grabbing my favorite blanket and stuffed animals," 15-year-old Madison Schmidt, who was forced to evacuate from her Elkhart home, told the Elkhart Truth. "I got into the boat. Seeing what happened, just almost made me cry."

For this town located 15 miles east of South Bend, it has been decades since flooding of this magnitude has been observed.

"This city has not seen flooding like this in the last 45 years," Mayor Tim Neese told the Elkhart Truth. "We also had record snowfall in addition to consistent rain."

South Bend's water treatment plant was forced to shut down Wednesday because of the flooding but had a limited reopening Thursday, the city said. This caused some untreated sewage to be released into the St. Joseph River, the AP reported.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg declared an emergency for the city because of the floods. In the city of Goshen, officials declared a local state of emergency and requested traffic be limited to emergency personnel, the AP also said.

In the northwestern town of Lake Station, authorities evacuated residents away from floodwaters Wednesday afternoon, according to CBS Chicago. Five Red Cross shelters remain open in northern Indiana to house evacuees. At least seven Red Cross shelters have been opened in northern Indiana to house evacuees. The Red Cross told weather.com that a total of 59 people stayed in these shelters Wednesday night; two more shelters were opened in Illinois, while three shelters in Michigan kept 54 evacuees overnight.

Because of flooding along the Ohio River, the Horseshoe Southern Indiana Casino and Hotel in Elizabeth announced a temporary closure for the first time since 2015, WDRB.com reported. There was no timetable for the hotel's reopening.

Illinois

As the Illinois River continued to rise Wednesday morning, residents in the town of Marseilles who live near the waterway were told to evacuate by the afternoon. The town southwest of Chicago has a population of about 5,000.

In Ottawa, volunteers came to the aid of employees at the LaSalle County Nursing Home when they requested help evacuating residents from the facility Tuesday night, NPR reported.

Michigan

Residents had to be evacuated in parts of Niles Thursday after the St. Joseph River surpassed a 50-year high, MLive.com reported. The waterway crested at roughly 17.33 feet.

"The last time it reached 15 feet in Niles was April 5, 1950," National Weather Service meteorologist Megan Dodson told MLive.com.

Coast Guard officials said Thursday that they rescued over 40 people and their pets from flooded homes, according to the AP.

An ice jam on the Rifle River caused flooding in Arenac County Wednesday as it caused the waterway to overflow, ABC12.com reported. Four families had to be rescued from their homes in Pinnacle Park.

A state of emergency was declared in Clare County Tuesday and three of the county's major school districts were shut down due to the flooding, according to MLive.com.

South of Grand Rapids, a train derailment was reported along the Grand Elk Railroad at about 9:45 p.m. EST Tuesday night in the town of Wyoming, MLive also reported. The derailment, which was blamed on a compromised track that had been washed out by flooding, occurred near U.S. 131, WZZM-TV reported.

A report from the NWS said the train conductor noticed the compromised track, but was unable to stop the train before it derailed. Two railroad employees were injured during the derailment, but only one was hospitalized, WZZM also said.

Ohio

In the Cincinnati area, the Ohio River remained swollen, and officials prepared for additional rainfall.

Many roads have been closed in and around the city because of the flooding; WCPO.com has a complete list.

Arkansas

More than a dozen students had to be rescued Wednesday after their school bus ran off the road and became stuck in flooding in a rural area of North Little Rock, according to the AP. County employees were able to rescue the children using a truck, the report added.

No injuries were reported, the AP also said. Some school districts were closed in Arkansas because of the flooding, but Little Rock schools remained open Wednesday, KTHV-TV reported.

Texas

About 20 homes had to be evacuated in southern Rockwall – a Dallas suburb about 20 miles northeast of the city – after Rockwall Lake overflowed Thursday, the AP reported. Nobody was injured, though several homes were flooded, the report added.

Residents had to be removed from their flooded homes near White Rock Creek in Dallas as water levels rose rapidly late Tuesday night, according to the NWS. Northeast of Dallas, many roads were flooded in the Wylie area Tuesday night, the NWS also said.

In Dallas, rescue crews have been searching for people who may have been inside of a white vehicle that was seen floating in the Trinity River Wednesday, NBCDFW.com reports. Police say a witness told them they spotted the car driving into the water before it was swept away. Dive teams are currently searching the waterway.

Power outages have also been reported in the Lone Star State. As of Wednesday night, more than 23,000 were without power, according to PowerOutage.us.

Source: The Weather Channel

Additional Resource:

Safeguard Properties Disaster Update Center

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