Houghton County commissioner provides updates on District 2 flooding cleanup

The MSP is encouraging residents who have been affected by flooding to report damages.
Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 7:26 PM EDT
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LAKE LINDEN, Mich. (WLUC) - The western U.P. is continuing to recover from flooding due to rapidly melting snow.

One of the most affected areas in Houghton County is its 2nd District, which includes Lake Linden and Schoolcraft Township.

The district commissioner, Joel Keranen, says while the flooding was damaging, it could have been worse.

“The good thing is, there was no loss of life, no loss of homes,” said Keranen. “There was damaged property, which was unfortunate. And now it’s time to figure out a long-term solution.”

A system of railroad grades and culverts that help direct water towards Torch Lake failed due to the volume of water.

Runoff flowed into Lake Linden and the properties below.

Now, cleanup is still underway in the most affected areas.

Keranen says he is working with authorities to evaluate the drainage system and prevent this from occurring again.

“We’re asking for help from the state and feds and the land company and landowners and the DNR,” continued Keranen. “They’re all at the table, so we’re trying to figure out a path forward to open all of these up or fix these situations so that people at the bottom side of the hill can rest easy.”

Keranen says they are working together to evaluate the costs of damages.

Houghton County Road Commission County Engineer Kevin Harju said some of the damage is also being caused due to ground thawing at an accelerated rate.

The overall costs could warrant FEMA funding.

Last Friday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer encouraged residents to report their damages.

Michigan State Police said 50 to 60 residents in affected areas have reported since the 19th.

“We know that there are other people affected by this,” said MSP 8th District Public Information Officer Mark Giannunzio. “And we really are encouraging them to contact that 211 number, preferably between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. That’s when it’s really fully staffed to take those calls and report those damages.”

To report damages, you can call 211 or take a damage survey.

To take the survey, click here.