Houghton County Flood Relief
Flood relief and recovery information for Houghton County is the focus of this website, helping volunteers connect with families in need.
Flood updates for locations across Houghton County will be posted as frequently as possible. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to request updates.
The Flooding of Houghton County
Houghton County was among several areas of the Michigan’s Western Upper Peninsula that were hit by severe flooding on June 17th, 2018. A severe and prolonged storm event brought over 7 inches of rain overnight, taking Houghton residents by surprise as the hilly terrain quickly funneled this deluge into rivers, creeks, and basins. The flooding rapidly washed out or undermined roads, bridges, and culverts. Entire streets that run up the steep hillsides were destroyed, along with parked vehicles.
Worst of all, homes at the base of steep hills were weakened or destroyed by the flood, as swiftly flowing waters swept down soil, rocks, boulders, and trees. One Houghton resident’s life was lost when a home wall collapsed.
Businesses and parking areas across Houghton County were damaged and forced to shut down temporarily or relocate. The peculiar nature of the storm was that severe damage was often limited to narrow stretch of a hillside. One home could be full of mud while the neighbors were not impacted. The damage was over a large area, in numerous small pockets with most homes unharmed.
The Response to Houghton County Flooding
The response across Houghton County was immediate. Within an hour of the storm’s end, early on Sunday morning, city and county road crews were in action clearing debris. Neighbors cut away fallen trees and assessed the damage. At all levels from individuals to churches and service groups to government, no time was lost in beginning the road to the recovery. Fire Halls in each small town became organizational centers to coordinate flood relief.
Local businesses took action and a Volunteer Resource Center was established at Evangel Baptist Church. Employees from Michigan Tech and Finlandia stepped forward to help organize and communicate. Because this region only rarely has any need for an emergency response, much of the western UP flood response work was ad-hoc, but well done under short timelines.
The Disaster Relief Flows In
Disaster relief organizations like DRAW (Disaster Relief at Work) and Team Rubicon arrived to further coordinate and deliver aid to volunteers. The Red Cross and Michigan State Police Disaster teams are on site supporting the efforts. The unusually strong societal ties in this rural region were on display and noted by Team Rubicon as demonstrating far more local volunteering than in most locations across the country. There are so many to whom deep gratitude is owed, from donations across Michigan, to volunteers from Wisconsin, and countless others across the country and overseas. May this region always remember their generosity.
Copper Country Strong
It is hoped that while much has been lost due to the flood, what has been gained is far greater – a whole generation that will look back at how this community responded to the crisis. Those who stepped forward in the hour of need truly define what it means to be Copper Country Strong.