Scenes from Lowell: Flood of 2020 Edition

As seems to happen every few years, the Grand River has overfilled its banks and flooded into local streets and yards. On Wednesday, the National Weather Service predicted floodwaters would crest at 17.4 feet in the early morning hours of Thursday and recede by Sunday.

Minor flooding occurs when the Grand River reaches 15 feet, and the 2020 flood is just shy of the moderate flood stage of 18 feet. The major flood stage of the Grand River in Lowell starts at 20 feet, a depth that has never been recorded by the National Weather Service.

While this year’s flooding is higher than normal, it is lower than the 2013 and 2018 floods. In 2013, water crested at 19.02 feet, which is a record. In 2018, the Grand River reached 18.2 feet. The current flooding is most comparable to that which occurred in 2004.

Several roads in the southeast section of town are closed as is a portion of Bowes Road. Vehicles should not drive around barricades. They are there not only for driver safety but also to protect nearby properties. A vehicle driving through flooded streets creates waves that can push more water into the basements of neighboring homes.

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The following photos were all taken between 7 and 8pm on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

Recreation Park in the City of Lowell regularly floods in the spring although not to this extent.

The parking area for the Kent County Youth Fair was underwater.

All drives into and around the park were closed.

And the flood waters reached all the way to the livestock barns.

On the east side of town, water crept up to the back of the municipal parking lot behind Main Street BBQ and Chimera Design.

However, the lot adjacent to the Flat River didn’t appear in danger of flooding.

The Flat River, shown here, ends at the Grand River.

While the Flat River isn’t considered to be flooding itself, the rising waters of the Grand River make this area south the dam look more like a lake than a river.

Homes on Front, Jackson and Division Streets were all threatened with floodwater. The Jackson Street bridge over the river was closed and impassable as well.

The water also crept up to portions of Kent Street.

On the west side of town, Bowes Road saw some minor flooding on Wednesday night. By Thursday morning, the street was covered and Bowes Road closed.

At Stoney Lakeside Park, there were no stones to be seen as the floodwaters completely covered the beach.

Water from the Grand River also approached the back of the parking lot.

At Riverfront Park in Lowell Charter Township, there would be walking on the trails, which were all flooded.

Although difficult to see through the trees, the township’s new pedestrian bridge did not appear to be in danger from the floodwaters. Township Supervisor Jerry Hale previously told Lowell’s First Look that it was built to such a height to ensure floodwater and debris would be able to pass under it easily.

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