UPDATED – 2-22-18 – 3:51 pm
Due to the recent flooding that has occurred in the County of Berrien, evacuations of the residents from the Meadow Stream Mobile Home Community, located at 3101 River Rd. in the Township of Sodus and the residents of Derfla Dr. in the Township of Royalton are currently taking place.
These evacuations are being taken as an overabundance of caution and nobody is injured or in immediate danger.
The evacuation of the Meadow Streams Mobile Home Community is being handled by the Sodus Township Fire Department with support from the Benton Township Fire Department and the Berrien County Animal Control Office.
The evacuation of the residents from Derfla Dr. in the Township of Royalton is being handled by the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office Marine Division with support and assistance from the Royalton Township Fire Department and the United States Coast Guard.
The American Red Cross is assisting in the sheltering of the individuals that are being displaced from their residences.
UPDATED – 2-22-18 – 11:27 am
Widespread flooding event update: Thursday February 22, 2018
Berrien County officials have been in contact with Indiana Michigan Power officials regarding hydro-electric dams that they operate on the rivers in Berrien County. The below information has been provided by I&M and is being shared with the public.
Heavy rain combined with snow melt brought the St. Joseph River in southwest Michigan and north-central Indiana to record levels, producing flooding that required some customers to be disconnected and affecting the six hydro-electric dams I&M operates on the river. I&M is working closely with local city officials and first responders, both to safely disconnect power to customers in flooded areas and to communicate the role of dams in connection with the river.
Currently, all of I&M’s dams along the St. Joseph River in Northern Indiana and Michigan are operating per engineered design. The Buchanan Hydro Plant is operating near capacity, but there is still room in our system to pass high river flows. I&M has notified the appropriate public safety officials in Berrien County about the status of the dam and will provide updates in coming days.
I&M’s dams are not designed as storage or flood-control facilities. They are operated “run-ofriver,” meaning some water goes through the generation equipment and then is passed down the river. The dams have relatively small reservoirs with water levels maintained in accordance with I&M’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license.
I&M is following all state and federal rules and regulations. Employees are monitoring river levels at each location around the clock and will for the next few days.
According to the National Weather Service, the St. Joseph River has crested in Niles, South Bend and Elkhart. Crests further downstream toward Buchanan are expected this weekend. Power to about 250 customers in Michigan and about 300 in Indiana was disconnected to protect against electrical hazards caused by rising water. Some disconnections were made at individual homes; others involved switching off power to lines supplying specific neighborhoods in danger of flooding. Most disconnections came at the request of public safety officials.
I&M urges customers and the public to exercise extreme caution. In the event waters rise around your home or business:
- Disconnect electrical appliances and DO NOT touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
- Do not go into any room or basement if water is covering appliance cords that are plugged in or if water has reached the wall outlets.
- Don’t enter a room if you hear popping or buzzing, or if you see sparks.
- Never go into a basement with standing water in it unless you are sure the electricity is off.
- If water rises to your electric meter base, or rises to wall outlets, call I&M to have your power disconnected. In Indiana, call 800-311-4634. In Michigan, call 800-311-6424. Our customer care experts will also give you information about reconnecting.
Due to the current flooding in the South County area and out of an abundance of caution the Niles Courthouse will be closed on Thursday, February 22nd and Friday, February 23rd. Any matters involving traffic citations, arraignments or reporting to probation offices should now report to the Berrien County Courthouse in St. Joseph while the Niles Courthouse is closed. All other matters should wait until the Niles Courthouse is back open.
The Berrien County Animal Control has assisted with collecting household pets from the River Springs Estates Mobile Home Park in Berrien Springs which has been evacuated due to the flooding in that area. For any individuals that are looking to make contact with their pet they should contact the Berrien County Animal Control Office at (269) 927-5648 during their normal business hours of 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.
If anyone is in need of shelter due to being displaced from their homes during this time of flooding they should contact the American Red Cross at (269) 556-9619 for assistance.
The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management is working with area first responders, transportation officials, public health officials and local municipal leaders to address the widespread flooding in Berrien County.
The following are terms you should be aware of when preparing for a possible flood situation:
FLOOD WATCH: Flooding is possible in your area
FLASH FLOOD: Rapid flooding, usually in low lying areas. Water floods with great force.
FLASS FLOOD WATCH: Flash flooding is possible in your area
FLOOD WARNING: Flooding is occurring or will occur in your area. Move to higher ground and listen to local media for evacuation orders
FLASH FLOOD WARNING: A flash flood is occurring. Seek higher ground and listen to local media for evacuation orders.
In preparing for a flood please make sure you have an emergency preparedness kit available that contains a 72 hour supply of water, medications and essential items in case you are required to leave your home.
Many low lying roads throughout Berrien County are now currently underwater, washed away or are generally impassable. The Berrien County Road Department is working diligently to get these roads identified and place barricades where needed. Below is a link to the map that is provided by the Berrien County Road Department on their website.
Motorists are reminded to not attempt to drive through a flooded road. The depth of the water is not always clear and the road surface below the water can be compromised which may not be visible. Do not drive around a barricade. Barricades are in place for your protection and safety. Turn around and find an alternative route to your destination. Be especially cautious when driving in the dark as it is harder to identify and recognize water over the roadway.
Floods can be both damaging and life-threatening. While flooding is most prevalent near low-lying areas and bodies of waters such as rivers and streams, it can occur almost anywhere.
For more information about what to do before, during and after flooding, go to www.michigan.gov/miready.
To report damage caused by flooding or a disaster you can go to:
This form is not used to report an emergency or request emergency assistance. You need to call 911 for an emergency.
The Berrien County Health Department advises residents with well water systems to inspect the area around their well for flooding. If flood waters have impacted the well system, drinking water may become contaminated. If the well head is damaged, compromised, or has been submerged in flood water, residents should immediately discontinue use of the well water for drinking, cooking, and/or bathing and should use bottled water until their well system is safe for use again. After flood waters have receded, residents can contact the Berrien County Health Department for more information on how to test their well water system for safety