All Roads Reopened in Kalamazoo, Except Two

Feb 23, 2018

Flooding affects traffic on John Street in Kalamazoo Friday morning
Credit Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Updated Thursday 6:25 a.m. There's now a centralized place for flood victims to find out the latest information on what resources are available, or to report damage and recovery needs--just call 2-1-1, reports the City of Kalamazoo's Facebook page. Meanwhile, only two Kalamazoo roads remain closed due to flooding, according to the city's website. They are E. Crosstown Parkway between Mills St. and S. Pitcher St., and Sheldon St. between S. Pitcher St. and E. Vine St.

Updated Wednesday 7:25 a.m. All but one flooded road has reopened in the downtown Kalamazoo area, according to a map posted on the city's website this morning. Still closed is E. Dutton St. between Jasper and Portage streets. Also, flood victims can pick up free cleanup kits and a few tools from noon to 6 p.m. today (Wednesday) at the Lakewood Fire Station, 3100 E. Lake St. in Kalamazoo, says a Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office press release. The project is a partnership between the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. For information, email jevand@kalcounty.com.

Updated Tuesday 8 a.m. The City of Kalamazoo announced the reopening of Walnut St, Portage St, Pitcher St, Portage/Pitcher intersection, Rose St, Lake St & Walter St. Meanwhile, Goodwill Industries of Southwestern Michigan is offering $100 vouchers for flood victims to purchase clothing, household goods and furniture at its stores through March 30, according to a press release issued this morning. No referring agency is necessary. Individuals need only present their identification at a store, or call (269)382-0490, ext. 212.  

Updated Monday 2:30 p.m. Relief from flooding in Kalamazoo is on the way. The Kalamazoo River was expected to fall below ten feet this afternoon. It will probably drop below its flood stage of nine feet sometime tomorrow morning. But until it does, city officials say some streets will remain closed. Kalamazoo Public Safety officials say they've identified the man who's body was discovered floating in floodwaters Sunday morning. The Kalamazoo Gazette says he's 48-year-old James Jackson of Kalamazoo. Jackson's car was found underwater nearby on Riverview Drive. Officials say the cause of Jackson's death is still under investigation.

Updated Monday 8:15 a.m. The city of Kalamazoo says traffic conditions should improve as the Kalamazoo River drops below 10 feet,  which it is forecast to do this afternoon. But the city says there will still be an impact on traffic until the river drops below nine feet. Kalamazoo Public Safety is investigating the death of a male found in the flood waters near his vehicle on Sunday. No other details have been released.

Updated Sunday 3:50 p.m.

The latest from the City of Kalamazoo:

"The Kalamazoo River has started to recede after reaching a historic crest of 11.69 feet this morning. It is now falling more quickly than expected and could fall below 10 feet by the end of the day. City staff will open roads as flood conditions clear and will focus on sweeping streets, removing debris and patching potholes throughout the day and overnight. Motorists are advised that some flood conditions will remain into the week and not all roads may be reopened before the morning commute. Riverview Drive is expected to remain closed into at least Monday. Gull Road and Patterson Street have already been reopened. The Kalamazoo Water Reclamation Plant continues to operate at nearly three times (its) typical treatment volume with no incidents. Additional testing has been performed on the water supply near flooded areas and results have indicated no impact to drinking water. The shelter at the Douglass Community Center (1000 W. Patterson Street) remains open for any community members in need." 

Updated Sunday 10 a.m.

The Kalamazoo Gazette says the Kalamazoo River is expected to drop below flood stage on Tuesday after setting an all-time high-water record of 11.7 feet early Saturday morning. Officials say water may not recede from all flooded areas until the end of the week. 

Updated Saturday noon

The National Weather Service says the Kalamazoo River crested at 11.5 feet Saturday in Kalamazoo and is expected to drop below ten feet on Monday. But Kalamazoo city officials say flood conditions are likely to continue  into the coming week. They say no additional problems have been reported and that streets will be reopened when conditions permit. Kalamazoo's wastewater treatment plant continues to operate normally even though volume has increased to 78-million gallons a day compared to its normal 26-million gallons.

Updated Friday 3:49 p.m. 

Some areas in Kalamazoo could face floods this weekend that will be worse than those it experienced in 2008. City and county officials discussed plans to deal with the problem Thursday afternoon.

The National Weather Service says the Kalamazoo River could break high water levels set in 1947 beginning Saturday night. But a flooding emergency has not been declared yet.

Road Closures 

The city has set up a special website with maps showing the extent of the flooding and where streets have been closed.

City officials say north-south traffic through downtown Kalamazoo will be disrupted as roads are closed. They recommend using Oakland Drive, Sprinkle Road, U.S. 131, and Lovers Lane as alternative routes.

Flooding has also closed some streets in the City of Battle Creek

Where To Find Help

The Red Cross has set up shelters for people whose homes have been flooded in Southwest Michigan. For Kalamazoo area residents, there's the Douglas Community Center on Paterson Street and Oshtemo Grange Hall on 3rd street in Oshtemo Township.

There are also shelters at the Commission on Aging locations in Hastings and Three Rivers, as well as Berrien Springs Middle School.

Those who need help in Kalamazoo  — but don't need emergency assistance — can call Kalamazoo Public Safety at (269) 337-8994.

Volunteers Needed To Fill Sandbags

The City of Kalamazoo needs volunteers to help fill sandbags. Flooding is impacting homes and businesses in the area — especially in the city’s Edison and Southside neighborhoods. Volunteers are asked to go to the Edison Neighborhood Association (816 Washington Ave) or Washington Square Apartments (710 Collins Street) to assist with sandbags.

The City of Albion has also requested volunteers to fill sandbags.

Other Flooding Issues In Southwest Michigan

High water levels are also causing headaches in Barry County. The Thornapple River was expected to crest at about ten feet Friday morning. That's forced some people out of their homes. Officials say a shelter has opened at the Barry County Commission on Aging in Hastings. The National Weather Service says the Thornapple River isn't expected to drop below its flood stage of seven feet until Wednesday.

Severe flooding forced the Coast Guard to help rescue people near Benton Harbor Thursday. More than 40 people were caught by high water on the Saint Joseph River in Sodus Township. Local responders were also involved in the rescues along with Coast Guard stations in Saint Joseph and Michigan City, Indiana. Officials say the area is subject to a mandatory evacuation order. Water levels on the Saint Joseph River crested at more than 17 feet Thursday, causing floods in several parts of Berrien County.

Heavy rains and melting snow have caused sewer problems in some parts of southwest Michigan. About 50,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled into the Battle Creek River at Bellevue on Wednesday. Officials in the village say they don't expect any impact on human health. Bellevue's treatment plant normally handles about 100-thousand gallons of waste each day. But heavy rain pushed that up to more than a million gallons earlier this week, according to the Battle Creek Enquirer. Sewage has also found it's way into the Grand River in Grand Rapids.

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