Rifle River exceeds flood stage
ARENAC COUNTY — Rainstorms April 12-14 pushed the Rifle River near Sterling above its flood stage, according to the National Weather Service.
A flood warning issued at 12:30 p.m. Sunday said the river was observed at 7.7 feet near Sterling, more than a foot over its 6-foot flood stage. Monday morning at 6 a.m. the river was observed at 9.9 feet, according to the weather service.
The warning said the Rifle River is expected to continue to rise due to rainfall early in the week. According to the NWS website, the river was expected to reach its highest level of the week, 12 feet, on Tuesday, April 15. Water levels are expected to fall below the flood stage Thursday morning.
When the flooding reached 11 feet, it is forecasted to impact properties south of Townline Road downstream from the Melita Road bridge, according to the NWS.
While the Rifle River was officially observed above its flood stage, the rainstorms also caused creeks to flood, and left standing water in many yards and farm fields. Although the river exceeded flood levels, Carl Setlak, who lives on Lincoln Road in Standish, said a creek running through his property that crept up into his yard was no surprise.
“I’ve seen it worse,” he told the Independent April 13. “I’ve seen it go right over the road.”
Setlak said while there was water in his yard, the slow melt had kept the creek’s levels below the culverts running under Lincoln Road, while it has risen above the culverts many times.
The rainstorms and flooding conditions forced the Sterling Sportsmen’s Association to cancel its annual kids sucker tournament that was scheduled for Sunday, April 13. The tournament was rescheduled for Friday, April 18 from 4-8 p.m.