Advance Notice: Briefs

Whitmer declares state of emergency in Ionia County

By: - February 14, 2019 1:28 am

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at a Jan. 31, 2019, press conference in the Michigan Emergency Operations Center I Michael Gerstein

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency in Ionia County due to severe winter weather, the governor’s office announced Wednesday.

“Ionia County continues to recover from the heavy impacts of this winter weather, which include severe flood damage in the city of Portland and ice storm damage in the city of Belding,” Whitmer said in a statement. “The state of Michigan is dedicated to do all it can to help the affected communities continue recovery efforts and get back on their feet.”

Ionia County had requested the declaration after they discovered they didn’t enough money to properly address effects from the extreme cold weather, Whitmer’s office said. The county has suffered an ice jam along the Grand River, power outages and damage in the city of Belding.

The ice jam also damaged businesses and residential housing in Portland, Whitmer’s office said.

Through the declaration, the governor made state resources available to the county, including assistance from the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD).

“The state has been providing several resources to Ionia County to help with the response to hazardous conditions and severe flooding,” said Capt. Emmitt McGowan, deputy state director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “We will continue to work closely with the Ionia County Emergency Management to ensure resource needs are being met.”

That was her fifth executive order. On Saturday, Whitmer also declared a state of emergency for the city of Grand Rapids due to a winter storm in which 42,000 were left without power.

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Michael Gerstein
Michael Gerstein

Michael Gerstein is a former Advance reporter covering the Governor's office, criminal justice and the environment.