It’s has been 7 days and around 12 hours since the last of the raindrops that created the Fathers Day Flood stopped falling and amazing is the only word I can come up with to describe the events of the past 7 1/2 days. Starting with the rain amount that fell is amazing. The damage it did was amazing. The immediate response by locals to help those in need was amazing. The continued help from volunteers both local and from out of town has been amazing. The donations from local and out of town persons and businesses has been amazing. Last but not least, the amount of things that have already been repaired is amazing.
Here are a few stats. 103 roads were impacted by the flooding, 36 of them were made impassable, including major highways. All of the closures to the major highways were taken care of by Tuesday and many of the impacted/closed roadways are now open. Some roads will need to be completely rebuilt, but have become usable, thanks to the hard work of some very dedicated persons. This first picture is a before and after shot of Agate Street in Hancock. The after shot was taken Thursday, just 5 days after the shot of the damage was taken. There are still some roads that are not passable, but they are side roads only used by those living on them. So anyone afraid to come up because they will not be able to get around should put those concerns aside. There is still work being done, but quite honestly, it is easier to get around now than it was the previous few years when there was the construction going on in Houghton and then Hancock, as well as the bridge.
I can report that the DNR has closed all ATV trails in Houghton County, with the exception of trail 3 from Toivola south. All of the ATV trails in Keweenaw County are open. I do not know of any business that a visitor would use that are closed due to the flood. So as far as coming up here to visit or vacation, I don’t think anyone has any thing to really worry about. In fact, many of the businesses are hoping that the summer tourism will not be impacted by what has happened, as it is a major part of the economy up here. So if you are looking for a way to help, come on up and relax and take in the Keweenaw. It is certainly business as usual for any visitors. Keep in mind that I would NEVER say this if I thought the flooding would have a negative impact on a visitor coming up to the area.
With regards to the ATV/snowmobile trails, DNR members arrived on Monday to begin assessment on the damage and the tally is that there were 92 minor washouts, 28 medium, 15 large and 15 massive washouts of the trail from Lake Linden south to South Range. That is 150 in all. I can say with almost complete certainty that trail 3 from Hancock up through Dollar Bay, Hubbell and on to Lake Linden will be closed for some time, that includes the upcoming snowmobile season. The damage there was so catastrophic that major dollars and major work will be needed to open it back up. All other trails should be opened up and it looks like we will be able to have the trail from Calumet to Lake Linden open and also have the Lake Linden to Gay trail open for the snowmobile season.
I did not go around and take any personal pictures of the damage. In fact, I did not even go into the effected areas unless I had to. I figured there was enough going on in those areas and a sightseer would just be in the way. Plus, there is just so much to try and cover, I decided it would be best to just share some links to some other websites that cover the situation quite well. The first is a Facebook album page that covers some of the damage. The next is a Facebook album that covers some of the recovery. Here is a link to a Facebook page that covers the volunteer process. This is a website created for Copper Country Strong.
The National Guard arrived on Wednesday night and Thursday with heavy machinery and personnel to help with the clean up. Several semi-tractor trailer trucks have arrive this week, full of supplies and I have seen cars parked in the hardest areas with licence plates not only from MI, but WI, MN, IL. I have also talked to a few volunteers from out of the area that came up to help. A ton has been done in the past 7 days, but there is till lots more to do.
Nora volunteered at the recovery center on Friday and again today. She manned phones and helped to coordinate the volunteer efforts. I did some delivery work on Thursday, which included a stop at the Dee Stadium in Houghton, one of two staging areas for recovery and clean up supplies. took Big Red down to Hubbell yesterday and spent around 7 hours helping to move debris and fill around.
In the world outside of the flood related events, Gracie had a blast at summer camp. The weather was perfect this time, compared to the rain and cold that happened much of last year. Just like last year, it seemed like she grew an inch while at camp. She was glad to be home, but yesterday she was chillaxing on the porch when she exclaimed how nice it was to be back, but that she really “wished we had some good camp food around.” The food is exceptional at that camp and less than 24 hours after returning home, she was longing for it!
Not much else is going on, other than the clean up in areas impacted by the flood, the region is gearing up for the Independence Day holiday, as are we. Nora has family coming up, so we will be busy having fun with them over the holiday period.
I guess I will sign off for this one, but keep those impacted by the flood in our region in your thoughts and prayers!
Good night from the Keweenaw..