Friday, October 15, 2021

Heavy rainfall in East Lansing to cause possible flooding on campus

September 21, 2021
<p>Rain drips from a lighbulb after a storm.</p>

Rain drips from a lighbulb after a storm.

In advance of continuous heavy rain in East Lansing, Michigan State University Infrastructure Planning & Facilities, or IPF, will barricade flood-prone areas on campus, according to an email alert sent to students.

The National Weather Service predicts a possible rainfall of more than four inches in East Lansing from Tuesday evening through Thursday.

This may cause the Red Cedar River to crest on Saturday at eight feet and then gradually recede over the next week. This crest level is not uncommon; the river usually crests during a spring snow melt.

The notice email asks students to ensure windows are closed in offices and dorm halls, report any water intrusion in on-campus buildings, stay clear of closed-off roads and take time navigating through campus the next few days.

The IPF notice warned students of potential flooding, and it likely won't be the last.

Over the last 50 years, the average annual precipitation in most of the Midwest increased by five to 10 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

An increase in rainfall, severe rainstorms and annual precipitation contribute to an increased risk of flooding.

According to the Michigan Climate Action Network, flooding has increased during the last century and scientists predict these trends will continue.

MSU Professor of Ecosystem Ecology & Biogeochemistry Steve Hamilton said some long-term effects may already be kicking in.

“We’re locked into a certain amount of climate change already because we failed to reign in on our greenhouse gas emissions in the past, and those greenhouse gases are going to be in the atmosphere for a very long time," Hamilton said. "We can’t turn it off overnight."

Very heavy rainfalls drop 31 percent more precipitation in the Midwest than they did 50 years ago, according to the climate action network. More intense storm events are resulting in negative impacts on transportation, agriculture, human health and infrastructure.

“Instead of building things based exclusively on the past record of heavy rainfalls … we need to think about the possibility that we’ll get even heavier rainfalls than we ever experienced and build storm drain systems that can handle that,” Hamilton said.

Human biology freshman Brad Kemper said flooding is common in his hometown of Grosse Pointe. Kemper said it has happened five times in the past 10 years. On one occasion, Kemper’s basement flooded so severely it caused his family to throw away everything in their basement.

Business-preference sophomore Nia Coleman said she remembers severe weather increasing in her hometown this past summer. She remembers people could not travel through the water because it was so high.

“The whole entire sidewalk was covered in water and the whole entire street was covered in water and no cars would be able to go through the water,” Coleman said.

Coleman and Kemper said that poor infrastructure is one of the reasons they believed the flood occurred.

“I feel like people don’t want to invest money into infrastructure. They don’t want to spend the time to prevent things like this from happening,” Kemper said.

This is a developing story. Stay with The State News for more updates.

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