Area rivers high due to snowmelt, runoff

ISHPEMING – Even with rain overnight and more predicted for the coming week, some Upper Peninsula rivers are receding from their high-water marks, but others are continuing to cause problems.

According to the National Weather Service, the Chocolay River is slowly receding from its crest Tuesday. The river was at 9.95 feet Tuesday and has gone down to 9.8 feet today despite some heavy overnight rain. The unnamed tributaries of the Black River causing problems on County Road 478 in Western Marquette County, on the other hand, have gone in the opposite direction, apparently rising overnight.

Mike Harrington, director of operations and maintenance at the Marquette County Road Commission, said personnel checked the water levels at washout areas on County Road 478 – also known as Greenwood Reservoir Road – this morning. The water looked like it had risen making Harrington less optimistic about how soon a new culvert can be put in.

“(Tuesday) I thought we would be able to get a new culvert in at the end of the this week,” Harrington said. “But it’s looking like we won’t be able to fix it until well into next week.”

County Road 478 has two sections, four miles apart, which have been washed away by swollen streams. The first washout was reported at about 5 a.m. Tuesday, 4.3 miles east of County Road 601. The second was reported at about 3 p.m. Tuesday and is located .3 miles east of County Road 601.

Elsewhere in the Upper Peninsula, the rising Ontonagon River closed a 20-mile section of M-28 between Bruce Crossing and Bergland as of 2 p.m. Monday. Because of this flooding, Ewen-Trout Creek Schools were closed today until further notice. Superintendent Loren Vannest said district offcials are making closure decisions on a day-by-day basis.

“There are two bridges in Ewen that are flooded and it would be impractical to have our buses take a detour to get to our school,” Vannest said. “Some of those kids are already on the bus for an hour and if the buses were to go around the bridges to get here, those kids could end up being on the bus for maybe two hours.”

Other regional flood warnings are still in effect for Marquette, Baraga and Gogebic counties.

Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-486-4401.