On May 19, 2020, much of our mid-Michigan community experienced devastation from flooding and several dam failures on lakes around the Midland County area. In 2017, our area experienced flooding thought to be labeled a 100yr flood. May 2020 brought a 500yr flood. A statistician might tell us that we’re relatively safe from flooding for a while, but our real-world experience is not in agreement. Some speculate we may actually see increased flooding without the benefits of the now failed dams as they serve as temporary retention when we do see significant rain events.
Greystone Construction evacuated our office and shop because we were in the potential flood zone. We also minimized business in the following days so our employees could work alongside more than 2,500 volunteers from Michigan and surrounding states who came to help our community. In the days leading up to Memorial Day weekend and through the holiday, and even now, volunteers have donated unmeasurable hours of hard work, food, clothing, household items, support and talent to our community as we deal with the aftermath of flooding. Greystone employees helped people pump out water from basements, repair damaged or missing foundation walls, remove mud and debris as a result of collapsed basement walls, helped homeowners remove water-logged furniture, carpet, drywall, insulation, etc. We are extremely grateful to live in a community where it is common to see not only volunteers but also neighbors helping neighbors pull out a lifetime of waterlogged belongings from their homes.
If you did have flooding in your home this spring, hopefully, you have removed all wet drywall, carpet, flooring, and damaged woodwork and have used bleach or other mildewcide to stop mold from forming and spreading. Running dehumidifiers and fans in your home are helpful in lowering the humidity levels and speeding up drying. Always check with your electrician before using any electrical outlets that may have been underwater and follow the usual precautions when using any electrical devices.
What can we do now to prepare for future floods?
- Have a spare sump pump ready to go and work with your plumber to install a sump crock.
- Consider adding a check valve (also known as a backflow valve) that would prevent water from the public system flowing backward into your home.
- Have unfilled sandbags on hand. We met a homeowner who had done this and was prepared to stay in his home which backs up to a creek. He was able to keep his basement dry with the use of sandbags and a spare sump pump! Tip: hold off on getting the sand for the sandbags before you need it.
- We believe generators are very useful when you live in Michigan. You can have a standby generator (talk to your electrician about this) that automatically powers most of your home. But, at the very least, invest in a portable generator to power your sump pump if your power goes out. And generators are also useful to run your furnace and water heater with electrical outages during Michigan winter ice storms.
- Have a plan. Think now about what to take with you if you have to evacuate. What to do with your vehicles and where you can relocate to be safe.
Our thoughts and prayers and continued efforts are with all of you, from Saginaw to Midland and Sanford to Wixom and everywhere in between, who experienced the relentless power of water.