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Niles city leaders discuss ‘destructive’ flooding

NILES, Mich. -- Niles Mayor Nick Shelton and city administrator Richard Huff spoke with the media on Thursday afternoon about the historic flooding that hit the city this week.

“The Saint Joseph River crested at 17.3-feet this morning, which exceeded advance warning and historical flooding references by over 2-feet,” Shelton said. “We have never seen anything like the flood of 2018.”

Shelton said seven vehicle rescues had taken place in the city, as of Thursday afternoon, and around 50 structures had been flooded.

“The real expense is going to occur when the floodwaters start going away,” Huff said. “We may end up declaring a state of emergency, at that point, if we determine that all of our resources have been expended at the local level. We can’t declare one until we’re completely out of resources at the local level.”

Huff said a portion of the city’s wastewater treatment plant had been flooded, but it was still operational.

He also said the local Dial-A-Ride office had taken on water, so operations were moved to the Niles law enforcement complex.

City leaders also mentioned that despite one of the city’s substations flooding on Wednesday and temporarily knocking out power for some customers, as of Thursday, most city residents and businesses had power.

Shelton said an apartment complex on Broadway had to evacuate 16 of its units because a basement wall was lost in the floodwaters.

Two other apartment buildings in the city’s flood zone did not have to be evacuated because the water did not rise as high there.

As of Thursday afternoon, while families worked to save their homes, Shelton said there were no known injuries caused directly by the flooding.

The city has set up a webpage to help people begin assessing the damage to their property and the cleanup process. You can click here to learn more.

On Friday morning, the Niles-Buchanan YMCA reached out to say they are open and available to the community for showers, basic toiletries, and other forms of assistance for flood victims.



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