Living With Floodplains And Floodways In Hamburg Township

Living With Floodplains And Floodways In Hamburg Township

Connected by the Huron River are the "Chain-of-Lakes" which pass through the Township and are among the most valuable natural resources of the community. In combination, the Huron River, the lakes and rolling hills create picturesque views.

Hamburg Township has over 30 named lakes and a number of creeks, most of which are tributary to the Huron River and interconnect with the many lakes. There are several major streams in the Township that flow from the north down to the Huron River. These major creeks are Hay Creek, Chilson Creek, South Ore Creek and Horseshoe Creek.

Floodplains comprise a large portion of the immediate banks of the Huron River, with some floodway areas near the north bend of the River near the Buck Lake Subdivision. Additional floodway areas are located just south of the Whitewood Lake area. South Ore Creek, Hall Creek, Oneida Lake, Bass Lake, Zukey Lake and Hay Creek are some of the water bodies connected to and affected by the River's flows.

Hamburg Township Is In the NFIP

Hamburg Township joined the National Flood Insurance Program in 1986. It is now a Class 8 Community in the Community Rating System (CRS) Program. Both programs are administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The CRS was implemented to recognize and encourage community floodplain management activities that exceed minimum NFIP standards with the minimum requirements of the NFIP, and maintain FEMA elevation certificates for all new and substantially improved construction in the floodplain after the date of application for CRS classification.

The CRS provides a credit system that correlates to flood insurance premium reductions for participating Hamburg Township residents. Through the CRS program, Hamburg Township and its residents may receive federal assistance during natural flooding disasters and discounts on flood insurance premiums.

For additional information about the NFIP follow this link to the FEMA website: 

Hamburg Township DOES Flood!

Hamburg Township experienced a number of high water events.  The National Weather Service records track recent events. 

The Huron River is served by a USGS Gaging Station #04172000 located at the Huron River Bridge over Hamburg Road near Van Antwerp Road. The location of this gaging station is Lat 42 degrees 27 minutes 55 seconds, longitude 83 degrees 48 minutes 00 seconds, in Section 24 of Hamburg Township. This area drains 308 square miles. Datum of the gage is 850.00 feet above sea level. Real-time gaging data on water flow rates and water levels is available for viewing over the Internet from the USGS website at  Gage Station records have been collected since the early to mid-1950's.

Historical Crests at the Gage Station on the Huron River as tracked by the National Weather Service/NOAA Hydrological Prediction Service: (Flood stage is 6.5 feet above the 850.00 feet datum)

Property owners of flood prone properties need to be vigilant and take appropriate measures for protection or evacuation against flooding if the need arises.

The Flood of August, 2021

View photos and video footage on Livestream.

View Report by Township Staff of the Flood of August 2021

The Flood of 2004
The Flood of 2004 - Photo Gallery (.pdf)

Following is an excerpt from the May 25, 2004 Declaration of Disaster executed by then-Supervisor Howard Dillman, which details the flooded areas in that event:

The Huron River has reached flood stage and flow beyond anything recorded during the past 52 years that the USGS has kept gage station records for Gage Station # USGS 04172000, "Huron River Near Hamburg, MI." As of 14:15 hours this afternoon, the streamflow rate had risen to 1,230 cubic feet per second, which is 5 to 6 times faster than the mean 247 cubic feet per second streamflow and was continuing to rise. .

As of 14:15 hours this afternoon, the gage height in feet was 7.93 feet above the 850 feet datum and continuing to rise. The National Weather Service considers 6.5 feet to be flood stage. *Shoreline areas of the floodplains of the Huron River, Ore Lake and Little Ore Lake have suffered minor flooding and are now beginning to suffer major flooding. *These areas have many cottage style homes originally built from 50 to 70 years ago, with crawl spaces or slab foundations, in lower-lying A3 and A2 floodplains. Floodwaters have filled the floodplains, and are now entering crawlspaces and first floors. *These areas are serviced by grinder pumps for sewage sanitation and are connected to the Hamburg Township Wastewater Treatment System.

Flood waters have engulfed a number of grinder pumps and the pumps are now offline causing release of effluent into the floodwaters. *These areas are serviced by privately owned wells that are now becoming contaminated by the rising floodwaters. *The twenty or so homes along Branch Drive at the north end of Ore Lake have suffered severely by the rising floodwaters. Grinder pumps and wells have been affected. Water is presently 26" and rising+ and is inside homes. Branch Drive is flooded and is now impassable. Mohican Drive, which is the access road to Branch Drive, is now flooded at the end which connects to Branch Drive, and is now impassable. Water levels are 18" to 24" and continuing to rise in these areas.
Branch Drive has been evacuated by emergency safety personnel. Branch Drive has been closed. *The eight to ten homes on the waterfront side of Lagoon Drive on Little Ore Lake are suffering increasingly from the rising floodwaters. Grinder pumps and wells are being affected. Water is presently 12+" to 20" and has risen into crawl spaces and first floors of the oldest, lowest homes in that floodplain area. This area will probably need evacuation soon. *The eight to ten homes near the bridge between Little Ore Lake and Ore Lake on Riverside Drive are suffering increasingly from the rising floodwaters. Grinder pumps and wells are being affected.

Water is presently 12+" to 20" and has risen into crawl spaces and first floors of the oldest, lowest homes in these floodplain areas. This area is in the process of being evacuated. *The culvert under the bridge on Riverside Drive which connects two portions of Riverside Drive has water that is very high. This bridge serves nearly 100 homes to the northerly end of Riverside Drive. This portion of Riverside Drive is partially in Hamburg Township and partially in Green Oak Township.

If the flood waters cover the bridge, access to the northerly end section of Riverside Drive could be cut off and these homes stranded. The ability of the bridge to withstand the flooding stresses is currently under evaluation. *Homes along the Huron River at the Gaging Station at Hamburg Road are experiencing very high floodwaters in riverside yards. Five to ten homes along the Shannon Drive riverside areas are experiencing water under crawlspaces and up into yards containing grinder pumps. Therefore, as the Chief Executive and Township Supervisor of Hamburg Township, in accordance with Section 10 of Act 390, P.A. 1976, as amended, I hereby declare that a "state of emergency" exists therein, that the response and recovery aspects of the Emergency Operations Plan have been activated, and that local resources are being utilized to the fullest possible extent."

Updated October 14, 2021

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