In an update Wednesday on the flooding of homes on Crooked Lake, Barry County Commissioner Ben Geiger said state and county officials are working on scenarios for the best way to solve the problem. Whatever they decide to do, it will have to be balanced against the rights of other residents in the area, Geiger said.
“We’ve had flooding before, but the water is not going down. There have been several weeks of rising waters causing the flooding,” he said.
Barry County Emergency Operations Center has been activated; director Jim Yarger said they are doing damage assessment, with 12 homes with sandbags or water up to their doors.
”Everyone on the lake is affected, one way or another,” he said. The Red Cross is standing by to help, and other resources are available by calling 211.
Those who need sandbags can pick them up at self-fill stations on Oak Drive and East Shore Drive or the Barry County Road Commission, 1725 West M-43, Hastings or the ready-made station at Prairieville Township Hall, 10115 South Norris Road. Residents needing help carrying and placing sandbags should call 211.
So far, Yarger has had six calls for help. He doesn’t foresee evacuation of people now, but it could become a possibility, he said. Evacuations would trigger an official local emergency declaration.
Lowering the lake level by moving water may be possible with pumping, but officials have to be very careful of the impact on other residents where the water may go, Yarger said. “Those people have a say; the process takes time.”
The exact cause of the sustained flooding is elusive; all lake levels are high and, “a number of things have changed down there,” Yarger said. “We’ll figure it out; again, we have to get permits…The DEQ has 90 days to respond to a permit request… this has been a lingering issue for a while.”
Crooked Lake residents have been at the last two county commission meetings describing the hardships caused by the flooding and asking for help. For the latest updates, visit the Emergency Management page at Facebook.com/BarryCountyEMD.