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Flood of April 1975 at Williamston, Michigan

Open-File Report 75-289

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Abstract

On April 18 between 5 p.m. and 12 p.m. the city of Williamston experienced an intense rain storm that caused the Red Cedar River and the many small streams in the area to overflow their banks and resulted in the most devastating flood since at least 1904. Local officials estimated a loss of \$775,000 in property damage. Damage from flooding by the Red Cedar River was caused primarily by inundation, rather than by water moving at high velocity, as is common when many streams are flooded. During the flood of April 1975 many basements were flooded as well as the lower floors of some homes in the flood plain. Additional damage occurred in places when sewers backed up and flooded basements, and when ground water seeped through basement walls and floors—situations that affected many homes including those that were well outside of the flood plain.

During the time of flooding the U.S. Geological Survey obtained aerial photography and data on a streamflow to document the disaster. This report shows on a photomosaic base map the extent of flooding along the Red Cedar River at Williamston, during the flood. It also presents data obtained at stream-gaging stations near Williamston, as well as the results of peak-flow discharge measurements made on the Red Cedar River at Michigan State Highway M-52 east of the city. Information on the magnitude of the flood can guide in making decisions pertaining to the use of flood-plains in the area. It is one of a series of reports on the April 1975 flood in the Lansing metropolitan area.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Flood of April 1975 at Williamston, Michigan
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
75-289
Year Published:
1975
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Michigan Water Science Center
Description:
54.66 x 39.77 inches
Country:
United States
State:
Michigan
City:
Williamston