With temperatures continuing to climb and snowbanks continuing to shrink, eyes remain glued to local water levels for potential flooding in area throughout Gogebic and Iron counties.
According to Iron County Emergency Management director Stacy Ofstad, water levels in the Montreal River have rose a “little over a foot” over the weekend, and it will continue to go up.
“We’re not too worried about it yet,” Ofstad said. “I have been working with Mark Bluse from the Hurley Public Works Department and Jason Alonen from the Ironwood Public Works Department on monitoring the levels. If they go up another one and a half or two feet, then we’re going to start worrying.”
Gogebic County Emergency Management director Jim Loeper said that areas have been handling the run-off fine, but there are still a couple of spots that he is keeping his eye on.
“There are a couple of spots in Ironwood Township, Marenisco and Watersmeet and we’re monitoring,” Loeper said. “We’re also watching the water that has gone over roads.”
On Friday, both Loeper and Ofstad received assistance from local high school students and community members by filling sandbags. According to Ofstad, there are approximately 1,300 sandbags available in Iron County and more can be made if needed.
“They are available to any municipality in Iron County if needed,” Ofstad said.
According to the National Weather Service, temperatures will stay in the mid-60s early this week, before dropping into the lower-40s Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Rain is also expected all three days.
“At this point, any rain is too much,” Ofstad said.
Loeper said, “We’re just going to keep monitoring the areas and the run offs. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.”
A press release from Iron County Emergency Management states area sewer lines and systems are over capacity and asks residents to limit water usage. As a reminder, sump pumps should be pumping water from basements outside, not into floor drains.
For more information, call Loeper at the Gogebic County EM office at 906-667-1118, or Ofstad at the Iron County EM office at 715-561-3266.