Preliminary assessments show the cost of flood damage to public and private property in a central Michigan county is near $90 million.
The damage to roads and homes appears to make Isabella County the hardest-hit among four that have declared states of emergency in the wake of heavy rains and flooding that began June 23.
Midland County officials said bridges and roads sustained about $13 million in damages. Bay and Gladwin counties also reported road damage.
Uncertainty hangs in the area as farmers weigh whether they should replant drowning crops or wait for drier weather. National Weather Service officials said rain is possible in the next three days.
“Last Friday was a bad day for a good number of people,” said Kate Thiel, a field crops and advisory specialist with the Michigan Farm Bureau. “Farmers are now asking, ‘OK, how do I make the best of it?’ ”
Michigan State University Extension field crops educator Paul Gross said the flooding situation is “uncharted territory.”
“We’ve never had this kind of flooding for this period of time for this early in the growing season,” Gross said. “A lot of the crops that were underwater for any significant period of time are probably lost. Needless to say, talking to agribusiness people, farmers and some agency people, the consensus is we’ll have some significant loss.”
About 25 acres (10 hectares) of soybeans and 6 acres (2.5 hectares) of corn were destroyed in Randy Recker’s 61-acre farm in Isabella County. He said he doesn’t worry about the weather because he can’t control it.