Ottawa Co. declares local state of emergency due to flooding

Ottawa County

SPRING LAKE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Several communities along the lakeshore are stuck with standing water after heavy rain over the weekend. 

Ottawa County declared a local state of emergency, saying more than 100 homeowners had reported damage to their properties as of Monday morning. The declaration, which was made Sunday, is the first step to tracking activity and damage if the need to ask for state or federal assistance arises.

“We’re seeing apartment complexes that the lower floor has 3 to 4 inches of standing water in it. We’re seeing condo developments that have 20 condos with multiple inches of water in all of the lower levels,” Ottawa County Emergency Manager Nick Bonstell listed Monday.

Bonstell said Ferrysburg, Grand Haven and Spring Lake are among the areas in the county hit hardest. Roads are closed around Mill Point Park in Spring Lake. The boat launch in Grand Haven is inaccessible due to high water. Volunteers and county crews began pumping out water and placing sandbags in flooded areas Monday morning.

The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office said a Flood Warning was issued in the area of Robinson Township until Sunday, May 24.

Further north, northwest of Muskegon, Green Creek flooded and washed out Fenner Road between N. Greek Creek and N. Buys roads in Laketon Township.

Ottawa County says the record high water levels on Lake Michigan coupled with consecutive rain events is overwhelming storm drains.

“There’s nowhere for the water to go so when this starts impacting residents, we figure out creative solutions and different places to move the water,” Bonstell said.

One of the “creative solutions” was rerouting water from flooded neighborhoods in Ferrysburg to flat land in Coast Guard Park on N. Shore Drive, dumping about 5 inches of water in one of the park’s fields. 

The county says with very few short-term solutions available, homeowners are asked to prepare for more flooding.

“Short of a drought, it’s going to be a long time before (the water) goes down,” Bonstell said. “This was a significant rain event and it was coupled with another significant rain event but most likely this is going to happen again.”

On Tuesday morning, the county will begin damage assessments in flooded neighborhoods. From there, officials will determine if homeowners can access loans or assistance to repair damage. If you are experiencing any flooding damage, you’re asked to fill out an online form.