Portland preparing for ice jams, flooding, as snow storm approaches Mid-Michigan

Mid-Michigan prepares for possible ice jams, flooding
Published: Feb. 16, 2022 at 6:06 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 16, 2022 at 6:08 PM EST
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PORTLAND, Mich. (WILX) - One possible consequence of the upcoming weather in Mid-Michigan are ice jams forming in the next coming days. That’s all it took to get Portland to spring into action.

Background: Portland residents coping with ice, flooding

Back in 2019, ice jams caused the Grand River to flood, forcing 50 people to leave their homes. Two days later the jams broke, causing flash flooding in Portland.

With the weather system the weather team has been talking about coming to Mid-Michigan that’s a concern once again.

City Manager Tutt Gorman told News 10 Portland is watching water levels closely.

Kiley Hilligan, owner of Conflux City Brewing Company, told News 10 they’re on high alert.

“I think this time we know what can happen, we know what areas that we need to protect and so we kind of have a game plan together of what we need to do,” Hilligan said. “We’ve got our staff that are awesome, we’re not going to feel bad about calling them in the wee hours of the morning if we need to and they’ll be there for us to help.”

Gorman said they will be working to make sure everyone in town knows what’s happening with the river.

Ice jams (or ice dams) occur at bends in the river when weather conditions are right. Chunks of ice clump together to block the flow of a river.

They often happen because they ice is able to move with the current until it hits a bend, where it cannot change direction as easily as liquid water. The ice then builds up at the bend in the river. Sometimes, as happened in 2019, it can cause flooding in nearby communities.

Related: Five things you can do now to be ready for the storm heading toward Michigan

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