Grand Rapids mayor declares state of emergency

Published On: Apr 20 2013 03:58:08 PM EDT
Flooding in Ionia, just east of Grand Rapids
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -

Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell has declared a state of emergency as the city deals with rising waters.

Heartwell says he expects Grand Rapids' flood walls to contain the water.

The National Weather Service says river crests in West Michigan communities are to start in Ionia and move west into Ottawa County over the next few days.

  The weather service updated its latest projections for river flooding on Saturday as smaller streams and rivers drain into the Grand River.

   The Grand River is expected to crest in the city at 22.7 feet on Monday.

The flooding will range from moderate to record stage.
 
   The National Weather Service also says the Muskegon, Thornapple, Chippewa and Pine rivers are continuing to flood. Crests already have occurred or will by the end of the weekend with high water over roads in some spots.

Grand Rapids firefighters helped to evacuate apartments and a hotel downtown after 4.5 feet of water surged into the 32-floor building's basement.

Fire Battalion Chief Kevin Sehlmeyer tells MLive.com the water surge on Saturday flooded laundry facilities, trapped cars and caused a full evacuation of the Plaza Towers Apartments and the Courtyard Marriott hotel.
 
   According to Sehlmeyer, people will have to stay out of the building for a few days.
 
   When both the hotel and apartments are full, the building holds about 1,000 people. Sehlmeyer didn't know how many were evacuated on Saturday.
 
   Arrangements are being made to find hotel guests rooms elsewhere.
 
   Building officials have not yet provided details on the flooding.

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