Water levels on area rivers begin to drop

REPUBLIC – Flood warnings and advisories continued today for several counties in the central Upper Peninsula, as late spring snow-melt continued to swell rivers to their capacity and beyond.

The National Weather Service in Negaunee Township said flood warnings remained in effect today for Marquette and Houghton counties and portions of Keweenaw, Delta and Menominee counties, while flood advisories – places where minor flooding may occur – were posted for Baraga and Iron counties.

Along the Michigamme River, flood warnings continue near Witch Lake and Republic.

“Warmer weather will remain in place through mid-week, causing any remaining snow-pack to melt within the Michigamme River drainage basin,” forecasters said in their warning. “This will allow the river to remain steady or slowly fall through Monday afternoon.”

The river reached its 9-foot flood stage Thursday at the Bengtson Bridge. The water rose to 9.7 feet at 10:47 a.m. Saturday. At 8:42 p.m. Sunday, the river had dropped slightly to 9.5 feet.

In Houghton County, a flood warning was still in effect today for the Sturgeon River near Chassell.

At 8:40 p.m. Sunday, the river level was at 10.7 feet. Flood stage is 10.5 feet.

“Sturgeon River levels will remain nearly steady or fall slightly through Monday night,” forecasters said. “Warm weather over the next few days will allow any remaining snow-pack over the higher terrain to melt, helping to keep river levels flowing near, to slightly above, flood stage through the first part of the work week.”

A flood advisory was in effect for the Sturgeon River near Alston until Tuesday afternoon. At 9 p.m. Sunday, the river was 7.7 feet. The flood stage is 8 feet and bank full is 7.5 feet.

An additional flood advisory was issued for the Paint River at Crystal Falls in Iron County.

At 3 p.m. Sunday, the river was at 5.7 feet. Flood stage is 7 feet. Bank full stage is 5.5 feet.

Forecasters continued to advise the public with a safety message for high water.

“Even six inches of fast moving flood water can knock you off your feet and a depth of two feet will float your car,” the message said. “Never try to walk, swim or drive through such swift water. If you come upon flood waters, stop, turn around and go another way.”

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.