For the week of May 19, 2003

From the 6th floor

If you haven't heard, Marquette County remains under a flood watch today, Monday, May 19. What a wild week beginning last Thursday. I am sure you don't want to see a boring old photo from outside my want to check out our flood photos! Keep reading.

Flood causes devastation; Governor declares state of emergency

It all started last Wednesday evening/Thursday morning when an earthen dike at the Silver Lake basin gave way sending a torrent of water cascading down the Dead River to Lake Superior.
In between, the flood destroyed bridges and roadways and drove nearly 2,000 people from their homes.
All residents on the north side of Wright Street were ordered evacuated. That included NMU's Jacobetti Center and Services Building. Water levels at the Hoist Dam had reached emergency levels and there was concern that the dam may not hold. Fortunately, the dam held up. There's no telling how catastrophic things might have been had the Hoist Dam gave way.
Water levels dropped and residents were permitted back in their homes Friday evening, but not before a whole lot of worry and damage.

Tourist Park hardest hit

The rampaging Dead River ripped through the Tourist Park and took just about everything with it. The cement wall, pipe and hydro house and part of the electrical generation system are still intact. The river basically found a new path around the dam carving out the road and soil. The rush of water has also eroded around the old County Road 550 bridge, which is just below the new 550 bridge. Believe it or not, the basin at the Tourist Park is virtually empty of water.

This is how things looked at the Tourist Park Saturday.

As you can see, the basin is almost dry. This family is standing on what used to be the beach. Behind them, you can see all the tree stumps sticking up out of the river bed.

Power company officials survey the damage. This photo is also taken on the beach, but facing northeast. You can see how the rushing water just wiped out the small dam that was here and carved out its own path.

Presque Isle Power Plant shuts down causing mines to close

All Board of Light and Power customers, including Northern, have been asked to remain in a power reduction mode for an indefinite period. Today will have the most critical need for conservation as the Board of Light and Power works to bring a secondary power plant back on line.

At the Presque Isle Power Plant, flood waters swamped the first floor of the power plant, damaging high-tech electrical equipment. UPPCO officials are now saying it could take as long as a month before the first two generating plants can be brought back on line.

The news, released Saturday by officials with plant owner WE Energies of Milwaukee, Wis., was troubling for Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.
CCI, which relies on power generated at the plant to operate, has idled off most of its Marquette Iron Range workforce. The UPPCO plant provides the power for the Empire and Tilden mines and without power, the mines cannot operate. Both facilities have been shut down since last Friday, laying off some
The Presque Isle power plant has a 625 megawatt capacity; 300 megawatts for the mines while the balance, about 325 megawatts, powers tens of thousands of Upper Peninsula homes and businesses, mostly in the Iron Mountain area.
Meanwhile, all Board of Light and Power customers in the city of Marquette, including Northern, have been asked to remain in a power reduction mode for an indefinite period.

Lake Superior shoreline a mess

This photo shows water rushing from the Dead River into Lake Superior Thursday.

The surge of water left behind quite a mess. As the water rushed along the Dead, it took trees, bushes, power poles and railroad tracks with it. Much of that debris can be seen along the shore.

A look at some of the debris along the shoreline.

Click here for additional flood photos.

In other news....Hedgcock renovations under way

Renovations that will turn the former Hedcock Fieldhouse into a student services center have begun. The $15 million project is slated to be complete next year.


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