Lessons taken from the Father's Day Flood

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HOUGHTON COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) - The flood that happened almost a year ago in Houghton County has been described as a once in a thousand year disaster.

It caused massive damage to the infrastructure in Houghton County, destroying roads, houses, buildings, and sweeping away vehicles.

A major question moving forward is what can be done to mitigate the damage caused by an event like this in the future.

"This was so far beyond what would be considered a standard of care in the industry, all we can really do is pay attention when we put things back together and try to do a better job, but no one would have designed for something like what happened," said Eric Waara, Houghton City Manager.

"We’re trying to make improvements in some of the areas that have been prone to flooding in the past, just in case we have another event. Of course it was a thousand year flood event. You really can't design for that, I mean, it's just not financially feasible, but most everything is being designed for a 50- or 10-year flood now, just to come up to codes and standards, which should withstand a flood like we had better than what was previously there," said Kevin Harju, an engineer with the Houghton County Road Commission.

Unfortunately, there isn't much that can be done to completely prevent damage caused from a natural disaster like the flood from last year.

The county is taking measures to help the infrastructure withstand smaller floods, as well as hopefully hold up better against larger floods in the future.

Emergency services in Houghton County sprang into action shortly after the chaos had begun. Their effort helped reduce the number of potential casualties. Another major question is, how will emergency services handle an event like this in the future?

"Well heaven forbid something does happen again, we've got this experience to draw on and some lessons learned. I mean, there's really no major things that we would need to change, but it was certainly a good test of the systems that were in place. So going forward, I think we'll be better prepared," said Waara.

An event like this is hard to predict and defend against, but after last year’s flood, Houghton County hopes to be better prepared for the future.



 
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