Recent rains have caused the Clinton River to swell just shy of 10 feet where it crosses Moravian, and while this is about 6 feet under flood stage, it is one of the higher January levels in recent years, according to the National Weather Service.
A U.S. Geological Survey measurement taken just before 3 p.m. Thursday showed water levels at 9.75 feet where the river crosses Moravian Road. Closer to Mount Clemens, the water level was pushing 12.56 feet at about the same time.
The torrential downpours of recent days are primarily responsible for the rising water levels, but frozen soil, which has prevented absorption, has caused mini lakes to form all across the county.
Between Jan. 29 and Jan. 31, the Clinton River near Mount Clemens swelled roughly 8 feet, capping out just under 13 feet, according to USGS reports. The NWS defines flood stage to be 16 feet.
In the last 66 years, the North Branch Clinton River has only reached flood stage once in the month of January. On Jan. 4, 1993, the National Weather Service recorded the river at 16.65 feet, while the section near Mount Clemens peaked at 14.5 feet the day after.
Sections of the river and area lakes will no doubt freeze as temperatures continue to drop this week, and residents are asked to be cautious as ice does not freeze uniformly and will be thin in many spots.
The Department of Natural Resources advises anyone who ventures out onto the ice to keep the following precautions in mind:
- Check with local sources of information -- such as the bait shop or corner store – about ice conditions before venturing out.
- Travel in pairs whenever possible and make sure someone knows where you are going and when you plan to return.
- Carry a spud to test the quality of the ice as you move further onto the ice.
- Avoid inlets and outlets, areas with natural springs or currents, and places were structures – docks, pilings, dead trees or other vegetation – extend through the surface of the ice.
- Pay attention to wind direction – especially on large bodies of water.
- Wear a personal flotation device (PFD) and carry personal safety devices such as spikes and rope to help you get out of the water should the ice break.