Coast Guard ice breakers deployed to St. Clair River to relieve flooding

Officials say 3 ice cutters are on the river, fourth to arrive Thursday morning

Three Coast Guard ice breakers from the United States and Canada have been working the St. Clair River, trying to break up ice jams.
Three Coast Guard ice breakers from the United States and Canada have been working the St. Clair River, trying to break up ice jams.

EAST CHINA TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Three Coast Guard ice breakers from the United States and Canada have been working on the St. Clair River trying to break up ice dams.

Homes along Pointe Drive in East China Township are affected. Those homes do not have basements but crawl spaces and if the water doesn’t recede soon, will be in people’s living rooms.

READ: Ice jams cause significant flooding along St. Clair River

St. Clair County Emergency Director Justin Westmiller said the cause is a trifecta -- strong north winds, no ice bridge has formed in Lake Huron and all that ice has dumped into the river.

“We started noticing the water rising around 1 p.m. yesterday (Feb. 2),” Westmiller said. “We got on the phone and by 3 p.m., we had federal assets from the U.S. and Canada speeding to the St. Clair River to break up the ice.”

A fourth Coast Guard ice breaker will arrive Thursday morning. Westmiller said they are hopeful they will be able to flush the water out of neighborhoods that have been affected and no mandatory evacuations will be needed.

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About the Authors:

DeJanay Booth joined WDIV as a web producer in July 2020. She previously worked as a news reporter in New Mexico before moving back to Michigan.