Dundee residents brace as River Raisin begins to crest
Dundee — The River Raisin started to crest Tuesday night after weekend rains pushed the river over flood stage, closing streets and washing over a bridge.
Village officials braced for the River Raisin to crest, setting up sandbags in front of storefronts in the central business district.
The weather service said the River Raisin reached 651.17 feet at 8 p.m. Flood stage is 650 feet.
The river was 2.25 feet over flood stage at Blissfield on Tuesday. The flooding was expected to end Wednesday. The river was expected to go below flood stage Thursday morning, NWS said.
The Fur Factory, which only Monday began its dual role as home to the Monroe Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, had sandbags in place. Late Monday night, owner Tramayne Fouts and volunteers teamed up to remove a host of animals from the building.
"It's probably 25 feet from our building right now," she said. "Most of the surrounding roads are already flooded out. But we expect it to reach the building at some point. I hope not, but I expect it to. We have three pumps ready to go."
According to the village's Facebook page, the post office was relocated temporarily to Monroe due to the flooding. But other city services are not expected to be interrupted.
Durim Ameti knew early on that his day Tuesday would be different. The owner of the Bricktown Diner & Coney Island got word from a waitress opening up around 6:45 this morning that the bridge over the River Raisin was closed.
Tuesday afternoon, the parking lot behind the restaurant was closed due to the high waters, putting a small dent in the usual business. Ameti was keeping an eye on the skies in the hope of some relief.
"We have some dark clouds coming in, so it could get worse," he said. "We can only hope for the best."
Rain is in the forecast for the next couple of days, according to meteorologists.
Flooding along the river in Monroe County left roads and parks swamped. Warnings were in effect for communities including Dundee and Monroe after heavy weekend rains.
On slightly higher ground at Dundee Auto Parts, things weren't quite as bad. Just after noon, employee Aaron Williams said it appeared the worst was over.
"The river doesn't look like it's been going up any more since I got here at 8 a.m.," he said. "It seems like it's at a standstill."
Danny Costello, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service, said the weather over the next few days shouldn't make the situation any worse.
"Today and tomorrow, we're expecting scattered showers or possible thunderstorms across southern Michigan," he said. "The Raisin system is a little larger than a system like the Rouge River, which is very fast-responding. Even if we get showers or thunderstorms down there, it shouldn't be enough to (saturate) the whole drainage system. If we get more rain today, it shouldn't really affect the situation."
Earlier Tuesday, Michigan Department of Transportation officials shut down the bridge downtown as a safety precaution.
"When the water touches the bridge, it adds pressure to the beams and causes stress on the bridge, so it has to be closed," Dave Uhl, manager of the Village of Dundee, told the Monroe News.
Sean Wilson, the owner of Lucky Dogs Credit and Cars and Dundee U-Haul, monitored the waters using a webcam Monday night and was out early Tuesday preparing for potential flooding.
"I got up every couple of hours to check it," Wilson told the newspaper Tuesday morning, when the water was about 40 yards from his building.
Wilson worked at the business during floods in 2011 that brought about 8 inches of water in parts of the building. He said they moved everything off the lot Monday and hundreds of sandbags were put into place.
Dundee also has sandbags ready to give to residents and business owners, Uhl said.
Meanwhile, crews in Kalamazoo pumped water from a flooded minor league baseball park, the Kalamazoo Gazette said. The overflowing Kalamazoo River swamped Homer Stryker Field on Saturday, prompting the Kalamazoo Growlers to postpone several games.
The Associated Press contributed.
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