Kalamazoo prepares for potential flooding issue

    As several inches of snow melt during the warmer weather, upcoming rain increases the chance of flooding.(WWMT/File)

    Officials in Kalamazoo County monitored weather conditions for potential flooding Monday. As several inches of snow melted during the warmer weather, upcoming rain increased the chance of flooding.

    Mike Corfman, director at Kalamazoo County Emergency Management, said he does not anticipate much flooding in the Kalamazoo area. He said that could change, if ice jams clog the Kalamazoo River.

    "Our biggest concern is going to be any ice jams if the ice starts breaking up and it starts jamming up, that causes backup. So, we're having all of our local partners make sure they're monitoring the river for ice jams,” said Corfman. “Right now we’re not looking at any flooding unless of course we have that ice jam problem.”

    Corfman explained the roads will be messy during the warmer weather, and drivers will see a lot of water runoff.

    “We may see storm drains that are full of ice. If we get a lot of melting those storm drains are going to freeze up or they’re going to be packed with snow water can get down there. So, maybe proactively start cleaning out those storm drains if you know where they’re at. That will certainly help,” said Corfman.

    Emergency management guidelines state the first thing families should do is plan what to do and where to go in case of flooding. It suggests making an itemized list of all personal belongings and property. The guidelines recommend taking pictures outside and inside of the home and save those along with that itemized list. It’s also advised to keep sandbags, plastic sheets and lumber on hand to protect property from flood water.

    Corfman said emergency management is keeping a close eye on the Kalamazoo River during this warmer weather and potential rain. If there happens to be flooding anywhere in the Kalamazoo area, he said it wont be as severe as the flooding that occurred in February 2018.

    “We’re not really looking at that kind of rain this time around. Plus, we’ll have that refreeze, so any snow that was melting is going to freeze again and it will just stop. Everything will be able to catch up,” said Corfman.

    Emergency management guidelines encouraged the community to memorize the safest and fastest route to higher ground. It also covered the importance of taking another route when it comes to driving over flooded streets.

    Guidelines and other emergency tips can be found on the Kalamazoo County Emergency Management website. Flooding preparation tips can be found on page 19.

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