Monday, June 18, 2018

Father's Day storm impacts roads, neighborhoods, beaches; officials assess damage, warn of health and safety hazards

By Michele Bourdieu

This map of road closures and wash outs provided by the Houghton County Sheriff's office, was published on June 18 on keweenawreport.com. Click here for a larger version. (Reprinted here with permission.)

[Editor's Note: Since our June 17 announcements of road closings, storm damage, etc. (see right-hand column) we have gathered some more UPDATES from various sources in the local area. We are providing links to the sources for detailed information.]

HOUGHTON -- In order to help law enforcement and emergency workers, the public is asked to avoid -- both on foot and in a vehicle -- roads that are closed and washed out as well as other damaged areas.

This morning, on WOLV radio, an announcement from the Houghton Police Department requested that people avoid sightseeing and taking photos of the damage out of curiosity. The public is especially asked not to cross the yellow tape police barricades because it hinders the job of law enforcement and is also dangerous. People should also avoid the waterfront in damaged areas.

This aerial photo shows the Pilgrim River flooding US-41 between Houghton and Chassell. US-41 was closed here Sunday, June 17, but it has been opened for one-lane traffic today. (Photo courtesy State Rep. Scott Dianda. Reprinted with permission.)

As of today, Monday, June 18, the following road closings are listed as follows in the Keweenaw Report:
-- US-41 is open between Chassell and Houghton, but traffic is reduced to one lane at the Pilgrim River, and at Goodwin Motors.
-- M-26 is closed between Ripley and Lake Linden because of numerous washouts.
-- Canal Road is open to emergency traffic only.

The following roads remain closed: Sharon Avenue just east of Memorial Drive, Old Mill Road, Coles Creek Road, Liminga Road, Paradise Road, Boudary Road, 2nd Street in Ripley, Pewabic Street in Ripley, Military Street in Ripley, Upper Forsman Road, Brooks Road, North Royce Road, Beacon Hill/Toivola Road, Red Barn Road, Airport Park Road, Goat Hill Road, Woodside Lane, Hendrickson Road, Salo Road.

In addition the Keweenaw Report also posted a handwritten list of roads with problems from Rob Tarvis at the Houghton County Road Commission. "Roads with an asterisk are impassable; others are damaged, but can be navigated with care. Add to his list North Cloverland Road, which is impassable," the report notes.

Health Department updates

The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department has lifted their June 17 Boil Water Advisories for local municipal water systems, but has issued a precautionary boil water alert for about 50 municipal water system customers in the Torch Lake area because of a water main break.

The Health Department and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality have confirmed that residents in Houghton, Hancock, Portage Township, Chassell, Adams Township, South Range, Calumet, Laurium, Lake Linden, Hubbell, Dollar Bay, and Ripley can continue to use their municipal drinking water supply on a normal basis.

Well-water users who believe their wells may have been flooded from effects of the storm should consult this Keweenaw Report article on well water safety.

Also from the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department is a precautionary beach closure for all recreational bathing beaches in the Western Upper Peninsula. This is due to severe erosion and flooding caused by heavy rains. The public is encouraged to stay away from beaches until flooding has subsided and waters are determined to be safe. Heavy rains can wash bird and animal droppings into larger bodies of water, resulting in higher than normal E.Coli numbers. This precautionary beach closure advisory remains in effect until results from the sampling verify the water is safe for body contact. Health Department staff will conduct sampling of beach water to determine if the water is safe for swimming. Another notice will be issued when the swimming advisory has been lifted. If you have any questions, call the Health Department at (906) 482-7382.

From State Rep. Scott Dianda:

According to State Rep. Scott Dianda's updates on his Facebook page, Governor Snyder has issued a state of disaster declaration for both Houghton and Menominee counties.* (Click below for a link to the Governor's press release.)

Michigan's 110th District State Rep. Scott Dianda, second from right, is pictured here with Houghton County Commission Chair Al Koskela, second from left, and two Michigan State troopers with their helicopter, used on June 17 to survey the damage of the storm in Houghton County. (Photo courtesy State Rep. Scott Dianda. Reprinted with permission.)

"I spent the last two days working on the ground with our first responders, and conducting an aerial survey of the damage with the Michigan State Police," Dianda writes. "The intense storms and flash flooding show significant damage to our roads, highways, businesses and homes and remind us of how fragile Michigan’s infrastructure is. We have much to do to repair and rebuild to ensure that our roads and bridges are fixed right and that this kind of disaster does not happen again. While there are many state departments already active in our communities and offering resources, I will continue to work to ensure that they are here for as long as we need them, and that we maximize all available federal resources to help our families and communities get back on their feet again."**

Rep. Dianda also posted today an announcement from the Portage Health Foundation (PHF) stating that those who wish to contribute to disaster relief efforts can donate to PHF's recently created Houghton County Flood Relief Fund. PHF will receive, record, hold and disperse all monies contributed to this fund in a manner that is deemed appropriate by the PHF Board of Directors with input from the Houghton County Emergency Response leadership.

Contributions can made online at http://www.phfgive.org/contribute.php or mailed to Portage Health Foundation, 400 Quincy Street, Hancock, Michigan 49930. Donors are asked to follow the online instructions and put FLOOD RELIEF in the comments section of your contribution so it can be properly recorded and allocated to flood relief efforts. If sending a check, please put Flood Relief in the memo line.

UPDATED: Hancock garbage pick-up and recycling delayed, RESUMES TUESDAY

According to the City of Hancock Web site, Waste Management's curbside garbage and recycling pick-up resumes on Tuesday, June 19, after being delayed one day. See our right-hand column.***

See additional updates and announcements in our right-hand column.

Notes:

* Click here to read Governor Snyder's June 18, 2018, press release, "Gov. Rick Snyder declares disaster for Houghton and Menominee counties." The article also announces a Michigan State Police Web site, Western U.P. Flooding, created for this disaster.

** Visit Rep. Dianda's Facebook page here.

*** Visit the City of Hancock Web site for updates on garbage pick-up. See additional updates and announcements in our right-hand column.

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