Whitmer declares state of emergency in Big Rapids area after flooding

Hannah Mackay
The Detroit News

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Mecosta County after severe thunderstorms last month caused flooding.

"Tough times call for tough people and Michiganders have been through a lot together especially over these last few years," Whitmer said in a statement Tuesday. "But we will have each other’s backs and get through this together." 

Whitmer said the declaration will help Big Rapids get resources and funding needed to rebuild and recover. Additional resources from Michigan State Police, Emergency Management Homeland Security Division and state emergency funding now are available for use along with local recovery efforts. 

On May 11, a thunderstorm dropped 4 inches of rain within two hours in the Big Rapids area, leading to extensive flooding and damaging roads.

"This major weather event impacted the city’s infrastructure and put a demand on critical resources, particularly as several roads and culverts were damaged in and around historic downtown Big Rapids and in local parks," said Mark Gifford, Big Rapids city manager.

The following day Mecosta County declared a local state of emergency, triggering local response efforts. Over a month later, county officials have determined that state resources are required to fully address the situation and protect the health and safety of residents. 

"This will help with the costs of repairing some of the damage that occurred during a severe storm that caused unusual flooding," said Wendy Nystrom, Mecosta County commissioner for the 6th District. 

hmackay@detroitnews.com