Mid-Michigan residents prep for potential ice jams, flooding ahead of winter storm

Mid-Michigan residents prep for potential ice jams, flooding ahead of winter storm
Published: Feb. 16, 2022 at 10:29 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 16, 2022 at 10:49 PM EST
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PORTLAND, Mich. (WILX) - Michigan is expected to see snow, freezing rain and wind Thursday and Friday.

Read: Thursday declared a First Alert Weather Day -- Here’s what to expect

This kind of weather comes with the threat of ice jams -- something the city of Portland knows all too well.

In February 2019, dozens of people were evacuated after an ice jam in the Grand River caused significant flooding.

The city remains on high alert with officials are keeping a close eye on the river. Residents are worried about the potential of another disaster and property loss, but they said they’re better prepared.

Michael Beaufore, the owner of Beaufore’s Barbershop, recalled the damages the 2019 floods caused.

“I don’t want to see it happen again,” Beaufore said. “A number of businesses here, I helped move some stuff out of their basements and move it up. We don’t need to go through that again.”

Kiley Hilligan, the owner of Conflux City Brewing, was also impacted by the disaster.

“We got our stuff all together, went out to help another business who was struggling a little bit more,” Hilligan recalled. “We’re literally standing next to the river looking at it, then all of a sudden it broke loose. We watched it happen and we’re like, ‘Oh, no, this is not good.’”

Her husband, Jim Hilligan, said it was the people in their community that got them through it all.

“The community was here to help us like crazy. We had 30 people out there helping us sand bag,” he recalled. “We didn’t really need to even call anybody, they just heard what was going on and showed up.”

Portland city manager Tutt Gorman -- who led the city through the 2019 floods -- said it was a traumatic time and city officials are keeping in touch with the National Weather Service and monitoring the ice and river levels.

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

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