Residents of Brace Street in Detroit have grown accustomed to an infuriating routine this summer after a series of thunderstorms caused catastrophic flooding in the Detroit metro area.
The sky is darkening and the rain is falling quickly. Their streets flooded and their basements fill up. Then they clean up the mess.
It happened again on Friday when a rapid build-up of 2-4 inches of rain in the Detroit metro area sent some residents into the third flood cleanup since late June.
The National Weather Service had issued a flash flood warning and many of the city’s highways and streets were closed due to rising waters.
Veronica Armstead, 64, lives on Brace in Warrendale, one of the city’s flood-prone areas.
“There was an SUV in front of a neighbor’s house, and the water had risen to the top of its tires,” Armstead said. “To get into the vehicle, you would have to have boots, waders so as not to get wet.”
Southeastern Detroit and the Aviation subdivision were also affected by flooding on Friday, Detroit Water and Sewer Department spokesman Bryan Peckinpaugh said, adding that the department had sent crews to clean up. storm sewers before the onset of rain. Teams will work all evening and weekend to respond to flooding and backups.
“We hope to resolve these issues as quickly as possible,” said Peckinpaugh. “Once the rain stops, the water should recede. It is likely that we will be working throughout the weekend on basement water complaints, depending on the volume of complaints we have. receive.
As of Friday evening, DTE Energy reported about 13,000 outages and Consumers Energy said about 500 customers were affected by 47 outages. The National Weather Service has reported fallen trees and power lines in areas such as Grosse Pointe Farms.
Friday’s heavy rains come after a series of storms damaged thousands of homes in Detroit and several surrounding communities earlier this summer, prompting a federal declaration of disaster. Dearborn and Dearborn Heights were among the other areas hit hard by the summer flooding, and sections of those towns suffered more damage on Friday, with social media posts depicting flooded underpasses and residential streets.
Joumana Aode from Dearborn, who lost property after up to 3 feet of water flooded her home in late June, recently invested thousands of dollars in an emergency sewage system so she wouldn’t face at one repetition.
It spared her basement on Friday, but the family’s yard saw a lot of water, she said.
Aode said she had to find different routes for her commute to work to avoid flooded intersections and still faced water covered roads.
“It was like a pond,” she said, adding that her sister’s basement was flooded near Dearborn Heights. “I was driving so slowly.”
In Detroit’s Aviation district, residents found themselves trying to dry their basements for the third time this summer.
Theresa Johnson, 93, said a team from the Federal Emergency Management Agency helped remove flooded furniture and boxes from her basement after rains in late June. They have yet to come back and replace its drywall and floors, she said.
Friday was the second time there had been water since June.
“It only rained for about an hour, and again, look how horrible it is,” she said, pointing to over a foot of standing water at the intersection near his home. “There are disasters everywhere, but we can eliminate them. There are actions we can take, and they don’t happen.”
Johnson’s neighbors Henry and Betty Verner plan to hire a photographer to take new wedding photos for their 25th anniversary on Monday after flooding destroyed their originals. The couple said they were considering moving, but feared the persistent flooding would deter potential buyers.
Down the street, Helena Derrick estimated that between crumbling appliances, furniture and clothing, the flooding this summer will cost her more than $ 25,000 – before she’s even finished replacing her walls and floors. .
“I have quotes for the repairs, but it’s hard to find someone to work on them,” she said. “And what are they supposed to do if they go down there and everything’s underwater again?”
Pamela McKinney, another neighbor, has lived in her house for about 50 years. She has seen severe flooding, she said, but this year has been one of the worst. In June, the water in his basement reached its height. She said she got rashes and hives as she waded through it trying to save what she could.
“It’s overwhelming. It’s just too much,” she said. “I’m going to need to have a boat just to get out on the street. Even after it stops raining, it just sits there and has nowhere to go.”
Armstead and its neighbors also experienced flooding after these storms.
“The last time this happened it not only rained and the basement was flooded, but we also lost electricity,” she said. “I was without power for 24 to 36 hours. I live in the dark, the basement is flooded, the food is melting and spoiling. Yes, I was really upset.”
Armstead said the city should repair its infrastructure to prevent future flooding in Warrendale and other areas. “With the kind of money they charge people in Detroit for water, I think there is money to do it,” she said.
Heavy rains, highways closed
Flash floods receded around 4 p.m. Friday, National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Manion said. The weather service issued a flash flood warning Friday afternoon for parts of the Detroit metro area.
Between 1 and 4 inches of rain fell between 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., Manion said, enough to cause flooding in urban areas. Garden City reported 3.73 inches of rain in four hours, according to the Weather Service website.
“Anytime we go over 2 inches for the Detroit metro area, we start to see issues,” Manion said, “especially in the Dearborn area and the I-94 and I-96 hallways.”
The Great Lakes Water Authority, which is under scrutiny for recent flooding, issued a statement Friday, noting that the regional system “is operating as expected and is in dry weather conditions, and currently has the capacity to manage the expected flows in the system. In anticipation of severe weather, GLWA has staffed accordingly. “
One of GLWA’s pumping stations broke down during a major rainstorm in June, which likely contributed to the flooding that followed. GLWA staff were aware of the blackout before the storm. Authority is in the middle of a study to determine what happened.
Flooding from heavy rains closed a few highways in the area during Friday’s storm.
Portions of the Lodge Freeway have been closed in Oakland County, as have sections of Freeways 96 and 94, the Michigan Department of Transportation said.
Only the Southfield Freeway remained closed Friday evening. The Southfield Freeway was closed between Ford Road and I-96 due to flooding under the Tireman Avenue Bridge. MDOT spokeswoman Diane Cross said it would likely take until evening for the water to recede for MDOT teams to tow four stranded vehicles and inspect the area before reopening the road.
Authorities are warning motorists not to cross stagnant water.
Rain to come back
Governor Gretchen Whitmer earlier Friday called for a presidential election disaster declaration for Oakland and Macomb counties following severe weather earlier this summer.
President Joe Biden had previously issued similar statements for Wayne and Washtenaw counties, but recent assessments in Oakland and Macomb have prompted the governor to add them to the request.
Damage in Oakland, Washtenaw, Wayne and Macomb occurred after heavy rains and flooding on June 25 and 26. In addition to the weather at the end of June, Whitmer, in its request, detailed the weather incidents on 7, 14, 16, 16, 24 and 25 and August 11.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan on Thursday urged residents affected by the June floods to ask for $ 56 million in federal aid available “only to the people of Detroit.”
As of Friday, nearly 35,000 households in southeast Michigan had received a FEMA grant totaling $ 100 million related to floods and storms in late June, federal officials said in a statement on Friday.
The sum included $ 82 million in housing grants covering short-term rent assistance and home repair costs and over $ 18 million approved for basic disaster-related needs, such as medical or dental expenses and lost personal effects.
Grant funding, combined with $ 59 million in low-interest loans from the US Small Business Administration, added to nearly $ 160 million in total federal assistance to residents of Wayne Counties. and Washtenaw.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel reminded residents of Detroit on Friday to beware of scams related to flood cleanup – like the sale of water damaged cars or contractors raising money for work that they don’t – and report the scammers to his office’s consumer protection team.
“The people of Michigan have endured enormous hardship due to inclement weather in recent months and, unfortunately, many residents of Detroit and surrounding areas are once again facing flooding,” Nessel said in a statement Friday. “I want to remind everyone to do your research following any devastating situation.”
Storms are expected to return to the region this weekend, the weather service said.
The forecast calls for a 50% chance of showers and thunderstorms on Sunday as mercury rises in the 1990s. Wind gusts could reach 20 mph.
“A few storms on Sunday could be strong to severe,” the weather service said. “Any thunderstorm will be capable of very heavy precipitation and potential flooding.”
Editor-in-chief Mark Hicks contributed.