Remembering the Grand Rapids Floods of 2013! They Were Devastating!
Do you remember April of 2013 here in Grand Rapids? It was a calm and peaceful time until the skies let loose with more rain than we had ever seen in modern times. There were heavy rains throughout the Midwest that was causing heaving flooding throughout the region and Grand Rapids wasn't spared at all.
Sudden, heavy rainfall saturated the ground from rainwater and the flow from smaller streams caused the Grand River to rise dramatically, and the river crested at an amazing 21.85 feet on April 21, 2013. It was an amazing sight. Grand River floodwater settling near the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum with kayakers floating near light poles of the riverwalk.
2013 Flooding at Grand Rapids Public Museum
On that day, April 21, Mayor George Heartwell, declared a state of emergency. Evacuations of homes were reported along with some reports about boat rescues from houses in the area. In Kent County, about 700 people were evacuated. There were 1,000 people evacuated from the Plaza Towers in downtown as the parking structure flooded and the power had to be shut down.
2013 Grand River Flooding in Downtown
Remember some of the buildings near the riverfront had the Grand River's waterline go over their windows and some people working in the building watched fish and ducks swim by through the windows. What a time it was.
There were sandbags everywhere downtown along the river, and the state of emergency lasted until May 24.
Grand Rapids Street Flooding 2013
Could it, will it, happen again? No one knows for sure, although the city and government agencies have rebuilt flood walls and taken extra precautions to protect the downtown area from that exposure again. Spring showers along with winter snowmelt will always cause the river to swell, so we can only hope for the best.