State of emergency declared in Grand Rapids following recent storms

Published on February 09, 2019

Photo of downed tree in road during February 2019 ice storms

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A local state of emergency has been declared in the city of Grand Rapids following this week’s ice storms. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made the declaration in response to a request by Mayor Rosalynn Bliss. The step is necessary for the City to receive state funds and resources for recovery efforts.

The storms left 42,000 residents without power and knocked down more than a hundred trees and 500 power lines across the city. As a result, the City opened its Emergency Operations Center on Thursday morning to manage its response to the storms. The center remains open 24 hours a day.

The power outages also led to the opening of two emergency shelters, which remain in operation tonight. The City’s Forestry Division is working 12-hour shifts to respond to nearly 400 service requests, which include fallen trees and branches blocking streets and sidewalks.

“We are focused on storm cleanup and recovering as quickly as possible,” Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said. “Our current services are deployed at full capacity. However, they are not sufficient to meet the significant needs across our city. This has led us to partner with the state to help secure additional resources.”

“We appreciate the support we’ve already received from the state. They’ve been here with us all week and have been quick to respond to our need for assistance.”

City Manager Mark Washington said the storms demonstrated the City’s strong emergency response plan and resource management. The wave of storms, however, stretched the City’s capacity in a way leaders had not seen before, he said.

“Access to additional resources will allow us to accelerate our response and provide support for City staff who have been working around the clock,” Washington said.

The City opened its yard waste drop-off site Saturday – nearly two months early – for residents to get rid of tree debris from the storms, including branches, limbs, twigs and brush. The drop-off site, 2001 Butterworth St. SW, is for Grand Rapids residents only and is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day until further notice. For more information, CLICK HERE.

The City continues to coordinate with Consumers Energy as it works to restore power. Fewer than 2,500 Grand Rapids residents are still without power.