This is a REALLLL mess...thousands go to a free country concert with Blake and Julianne and the river rises to take their rides! Here's the latest on the story:
The Michigan State Police evacuated the area and forced people to leave their cars in the field.There have been no reports of major injuries, although emergency crews did treat more than 12 people for minor injuries.
Weather forecasters said heavy rains Friday night caused the river to flood.Now the latest: 4pm central Sunday:
B93 Birthday Bash cars
stuck til Wed.
Attendees evacuated, cars abandoned
Updated: Sunday, 21 Jun 2009, 4:23 PM EDT
Published : Sunday, 21 Jun 2009, 10:16 AM EDT
IONIA, Mich. (WOOD) - It could be mid-week before hundreds of cars trapped by water at the Ionia County Fairgrounds are able to be removed, according to officials from Ionia County and Clear Channel Radio.
Thousands of people were trapped when water from the Webber Dam was diverted due to the torrential rains Friday night. The Ionia County Fairgrounds flooded early Saturday evening, forcing the evacuation of the concertand an emergency shelter set up.
There are at least several hundred cars trapped south of the Grand River, and another 100 or more in other spots, said Tim Feagan, the vice president of Clear Channel Grand Rapids, and Jason Eppler, the Ionia city manager.
The river won't recede until around Wednesday, and the city is working on a plan with Clear Channel to help get the cars out, Eppler said.
"Around 4 a.m. Saturday, the National Weather Service said we were in a safe place," said Feagan, adding he was told the river would crest around 13.5 feet. "We were in good shape."
Officials were in touch with Consumers Energy employees about the dam in Lansing, Eppler said.
"I think there was some conversations with public safety personal and reps from Consumers," he said. "Just as water came up here, much faster than we anticipated, I'm sure that happened upstream for Consumers as well."
Consumers Energy representatives told 24 Hour News 8 they had to release the dam in compliance with federal and state laws.
"The problems that took place on the south lot began around 11:30 a.m. We stopped parking cars and brought gravel in to stem the water," one said. "We hoped that we'd be able to bring in enough gravel, but the water overtook us."
Said Eppler: There was an "ongoing evaluation beginning Friday evening. We did not want to risk personal safety. We collectively made the decision. The river came up much higher than even the National Weather Service anticipated."
He understands "that people want their vehicles, and we're working to get them out as soon as possible, but we don't want to rush it either. We don't want to put them in an unsafe situation."
The latest information on the car removal will be posted on b93.com , Feagan said.
"It doesn't make sense to point fingers," Eppler said. "It was just an act of God."