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Flooding persists along swollen rivers in western Michigan, eases in some other parts of state

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EVART, Michigan — Flooding due to heavy rain and melting snow threatened homes and businesses along swollen rivers in parts of western Michigan on Wednesday, while the high water eased elsewhere in the state.

The Muskegon River reached a record 15.8 feet late Tuesday at Evart in Osceola County, far exceeding the previous high of 15 feet set in March 1989, and well above its 12-foot flood stage, the National Weather Service said. The river was expected to rise more in the area Wednesday then recede later in the day.

The river also exceeded its flood stage of 9 feet near the Croton Dam, about 35 miles north of Grand Rapids. The level stood at 12.8 feet late Tuesday and could rise above 13 feet on Wednesday. Still, the weather was expected to cooperate.

"Dry conditions will persist with very little rainfall expected through the rest of the week," the weather service said in statement.

Forecasters said more flooding could affect homes and cottages along the Muskegon River and leave some roads impassable. The situation will remain tenuous for another few days before the river recedes below moderate flood stage.

PHOTO: The area off Maple Island Avenue near North Bayne Road is flooded on Tuesday, April 15, 2014, in Muskegon, Mich. (AP Photo/The Muskegon Chronicle, Madelyn Hastings)
The area off Maple Island Avenue near North Bayne Road is flooded on Tuesday, April 15, 2014, in Muskegon, Mich. (AP Photo/The Muskegon Chronicle, Madelyn Hastings)

On Tuesday, a flash flood warning was posted after an earthen dam gave way on Wolf Creek near the Muskegon River's headwaters in Roscommon County, forcing closure of sections of a two-lane highway called Old 27.

"At first when the dam broke, the water surged, hit the bridge and was over the road," Eric Tiepel, Roscommon County Emergency Management Director, told WPBN-WTOM. "Since then it has receded."

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources bought the dam about four years ago from a hunting club, which used it to form a small, marshy lake, officials said. The dam has a low-hazard rating because it's in an unoccupied forest area.

Flooding also has been reported along waterways including the Pere Marquette, Chippewa, Tittabawassee and White rivers. Washouts or flooding also caused road closures in the Ludington, Cheboygan and Alpena areas.

Along the Tittabawassee River from Midland into Saginaw, flooding eased. The river appeared to have crested on Tuesday, officials said, and the American Red Cross planned to make cleanup kits available for affected residents. Some roads are closed until further notice, The Saginaw News reported.

In the Upper Peninsula, forecasters advised people to watch for rising water on the Escanaba River and other streams where ice jams posed a danger and moderate to heavy snow remained in the forecast.

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Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: A barn in the area off Maple Island Avenue near North Bayne Road in Twin Lake is closed due to flooding on Tuesday, April 15, 2014, in Muskegon, Mich. (AP Photo/The Muskegon Chronicle, Madelyn Hastings)
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