Michigan farmers and residents have been finding ways to cope with rainy weather and high lake levels that have caused excessive flooding.
Michiganders are no strangers when it comes to severe weather. We brave blizzards, severe thunderstorms, scorching heat and even tornadoes. But this rainy season has been one for the books.
For farmers in St. Clair shores, this is one of the worst rainy seasons they’ve experienced.
Betty Jo Krosnicki, President of the St. Clair County Farm Bureau, says farmers have barely begun planting their crops. Krosnicki’s own farm has only planted soybeans this season.
Luckily, they were able to plant wheat back in the fall and can harvest it. But they are missing their most important crop, corn, due to excessive amounts of standing water in their fields.
Most farmers, however, have personal farm insurance which allows for preventative coverage for crops that may not have the chance to be planted or harvested.
“If you can’t plant by a certain date, you can apply for an insurance claim against those acres and receive payments for those crops,” Krosnicki says. “You don’t receive as much as you would for planting and harvesting the crop, but it provides a cushion.”
The farming community is trying to remain positive and support all who have been devastated by this rainy season. Similarly, to the farmers in St. Clair shores, residents of Harrison Township are rallying together to help prevent damages to their homes caused by floods.
While rain is still a factor in the flooding, the main cause is the rise of lake levels in Lake Superior. Harrison Township Supervisor Ken Verkest attributes this to colder Michigan winters.
“Colder winters allow for more of Lake Superior to freeze, causing less evaporation in the winter,” Verkest explains. “If evaporation doesn’t occur, the ice and snow will melt and increase the lake levels.”
However, even with lake levels rising, Verkest is being proactive to make sure the residents of Harrison Township have all the means necessary to stay safe during floods. The township provides residents with pamphlets detailing how to prevent flooding, and sandbags are also distributed to residents so they can further prevent any flood damages.
Even though Harrison Township declared a state of emergency back in the beginning of May, they have only condemned one house. For the most part, they have received reports of minor flooding in homes but so far nothing is structurally devastating.
Verkest and residents are demonstrating a strong sense of community. “We are all experiencing the same hardship. We all have agreed to work together and try to help each other out the best we can,” Verkest says. “We’ve experienced this loss multiple times in the past and we know it’s going to happen in the future. We want everyone to know that you’re not alone in this.”
As of today, no water damage has been reported in Oakland County. Former Oak Park Mayor Jerry Naftaly has heard of other complaints hindering the area but none conclusive with the flooding.