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Ice jam pushes St. Clair River to record levels, triggers devastating floods in Michigan, U.S.

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Houses and main roads in southeastern St. Clair County, Michigan, were flooded on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, after ice jams pushed the St. Clair River to a record high of 176.3 m (578.5 feet).

U.S. and Canadian coast guards have sent icebreaking ships to the St. Clair River after ice build-up caused devastating floods to southeastern St. Clair County, from Algonac to Port Huron.

"I’ve lived here for about 45 years now and the water is higher than I’ve ever seen it," said Algonac resident Bill Gratopp. High waters were also reported in East China Township and Marine City.

According to a statement from the U.S. coast guard, the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon was underway on Tuesday evening, February 2, flushing ice that is contributing to the significant floods. 

A flood warning has been issued by the St. Clair County after the river reached record levels of 176.3 m (578.5 feet)

Coast Guard officials added that they began to get calls from residents this week regarding flooding in various towns along the river and that the water was "threatening homes and businesses," said spokesman Jeremiah Schiessel.

Mark White, deputy director for the St. Clair County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said the waters rose quickly.

"We have four cutters working that river, so there's a lot of real estate to cover but we're hopeful that they can get things accomplished."

"[The towns] are experiencing some super high water. A lot of coastal flooding. Yards are totally flooded out. Driveways totally impacted and quite a few cars impacted as well."

Meanwhile, Schiessel assured that crews are working to relieve the flooding situation. However, "Mother Nature is a pretty powerful force," he said.

"When you're talking about trillions of gallons of water that is basically trying to go through a funnel, it can wreak havoc even with all of our resources and really tax our resources."

Featured image credit: Stacy Shepley

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