Photo Friday: Flooding in Michigan

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The Saginaw and Grand rivers showing major flooding on April 21. NASA photo.

Pre-flood conditions along the Saginaw and Grand rivers on April 5. NASA photo.

Pre-flood conditions along the Saginaw and Grand rivers on April 5. NASA photo.

The heavy flooding that struck Michigan this month is evident in these photos from NASA’s Earth Observatory. The photos, taken from NASA’s Terra satellite, show the Saginaw River on the east side of the state and the Grand River as it flows west from the center of the state toward Lake Michigan on April 5 and April 21. A comparison of the photos shows a much-widened Grand River and major flooding conditions on the Saginaw River near the city of Saginaw, according to the NASA report. The National Weather Service continues to place Saginaw under a flood warning, stating that the river is not expected to fall below flood levels until May 1.

The photos combine infrared and visual light imagery to increase the contrast between the water and land, highlighting the expansion of the rivers, according to NASA. The agency’s report also mentions the more vibrant green hue of vegetation in the April 21 photo, stating that it is a consequence of both the heavy rainfall enlivening plant life and the onset of spring in the state.

The flood currents are driving a plume of sediment into Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Grand River, according to an MLive report from April 23.

2 thoughts on “Photo Friday: Flooding in Michigan

  1. FEMA’s policy to allow building in the floodplain is a loser…it advocates the elevation of properties by filling and then developing…it makes no difference if it is 1 acre, 100 acres or 10,000 acres.

    If the FEMA and national policy is to allow building in the Floodplain it should require 1-1 1/2 acre feet or more of mitigaion for every acre foot that the new property fills in in order to develop the land.

    Under the current policy the new property or development is protected from flooding but the Floodplain flood water storage that is lost results in water being pushed off and on to others.

    The FEMA National Floodplain policy has probably been one of the largest contributors to expansion of the floodplains in the US, increased flooding and obviously flood losses. Areas that never flooded before are now flooding. Flood losses are greatest in areas that are not even identified as being within the floodplain.

    FEMA needs to change its floodplain policies that allow building in the floodplain without conpensatory mitigation for every acre foot that is lost to development! If they do not, flooding will only continue to be exasperated by the current policy.

  2. Flooding is rarely a problem unless people foolishly build in the floodplain. Since a floodplain is an essential part of a river system, it stands to reason that if you build in the river you will likely get wet. We need to stop subsidizing people to build in flood-prone areas by phasing out the federal flood insurance program.

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