March 18 • 09:55 PM

The sky is falling, record rainfall hits again

August 12, 2009
Most readers have a distinct distaste for newspapers who make exaggerated claims, you know, like; "the sky is falling" But to some area residents, it would be hard to convince them the sky didn't fall. Sunday morning many woke up to flooded yards, flooded basements, fallen limbs, no electricity and washed out roads.

The overnight rainfall dumped up to 8 inches of rain in some areas, similar to the horrible storm that rolled through the area in mid-June when 7 inches fell.

Mother Nature has been tough on us this year.

Camera in hand and rubber boots on my feet, I headed out to record a piece of history.

My first stop was Raymond Abbe's home on Almont Avenue in Imlay City. A huge oak limb had fallen on his roof, caving it in.

Mark and Cathy Madeline woke up to their ski boat at the bottom of the lake from the weight of heavy rains. photo by Randy Jorgensen.

Dan Weingartz was helping him clear the tangle of tree limbs. Dan, who owns Weingartz Tree Service, told me, "Well, so much for a quiet Sunday morning," as he gassed-up his chainsaw. "Looks like I'll be busy all day. You should get photos of the huge pine trees that snapped in half just around the corner. It's like a tornado touched down."

My wife called me saying she got a call from Cathy Madeline and their boat on Long Lake had sunk. "You should go get a picture," she tells me.

Long Lake is just south of Attica. Mark and Cathy have a beautiful home on the lake and sure enough, their ski boat rested peacefully on the bottom of the lake next to their dock. It appeared it simply filled with rain water and sunk from the weight of it.

As I was driving out, Jeff Schutz was dumping a load of gravel, replacing a section of driveway that had just completely washed out. We chatted for a moment and he told me his tree farm and nursery, (Schutz's Tree Farm) was under two feet of water for the second time in two months.

"This rain is horrible for the vegetable farmers, they just couldn't afford another rain like this," Jeff told me.

"My trees can last a few days in standing water, but the crops can't. They can't even pump the fields because there is no place to pump the water."

John Topie, who also lives on Long Lake called me and said, "Randy you have to see my dock. It's two feet under water. That dock has been there for years and I've never seen it this high, never!"

Later in the day I had a chance to talk with Jim Teets, who lives west of Imlay City. Jim's wife, Donna, emptied their rain gauge on Saturday evening, when over two inches of rain had fallen. On Sunday morning she checked it again to find an additional five inches of rain had fallen overnight.

Next stop was the fairgrounds. Driving through the grounds, mud puddles were as plentiful as visitors on Friday night. One of the first people I saw was Allen Woodworth, the fairground's longtime right-hand-man.

Allen was busy with the heavy equipment, pulling campers out of three feet of water, picking up pieces of tents mangled from the high winds and uprighting light towers.

"You should have seen this storm roar through," Allen tells me. "It made a mess as you can see, we'll be cleaning up for a while."

The midway company who planned to be in Saginaw by daylight on Sunday morning to set up for another fair couldn't even get out of Imlay City.

The wrath of Mother Nature's summer storms created problems none of us could see coming. Power outages were widespread. Flooding was common.

It left residents forced to deal with a set of problems no one needed at this time.

As Jeff Schutz told me, "Things are bad enough around here without having to deal with a second major storm in one summer."

We know the sky isn't falling, but for those left to mop up and pump out the mess left behind it's hard to convince otherwise.

Email Randy at

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