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Posted: 08/20/14



HIGH WATER. Above, Above, heavy rainfall caused a golf cart path at the Orchards Golf Club on Campground Road in Washington Township to become partially submerged. The scene was found throughout southern Macomb County on major roads, causing a state of emergency to be declared. At right, a field of crops at 33 Mile Road was partially flooded after the heavy rainfall event on Aug. 11. The storm dumped 4.57 inches of rain onto the Detroit area, almost beating the all-time record of 4.74 inches set on July 31, 1925. The counties of Macomb, Wayne and Oakland have all declared a state of emergency to try and gain reimbursements for repairing flood damage. Below, a retention pond on Campground Road was full of water following the rainfall Southeast Michigan experienced on Aug. 11.

(Observer photos by Chris Gray)

County declares state of emergency after flooding

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      Torrential downpours drenched Southeast Michigan on Aug. 11, causing freeway and street closures and flooded homes.
       As a result, Macomb County has declared a state of emergency, and is asking residents to report any damage caused by the rainfall or flooding.
       According to the Detroit/Pontiac National Weather Service office, the historic event dropped 4.57 inches of rain in the Detroit area, beating out the previous record of 2.06 inches set in 1964 and nearly beating the all-time record of 4.74 inches set on July 31, 1925.
       Macomb, Wayne and southern Oakland counties saw the worst of it as 4 to 6 inches of rain fell over a four-hour period. All three counties subsequently declared a state of emergency in response to the heavy flooding, which gives governments the ability to receive funding from state or federal sources to recoup expenses from repairs.
       Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said around 20,000 reports of damage have been gathered as of Aug. 14 from around the county.
       "One of the most compelling was a basement in a pretty nice home (in Warren), and right by the patio the basement wall literally gave in because of the pressure of the water," he said. "It completely flooded the basement, it's the most incredible thing I've seen."
       Main roads like Hayes have suffered damage as well. Hackel said the county is investigating its infrastructure to determine what repairs are needed for roads that were flooded.
       "We're still going to see repercussions for the next several months," he said. "Already we're starting to hear of buckling roads in areas where you can't visibly see the erosion, but we know they've been compromised."
       Residents can call Macomb County at 586-493-6767 between 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday to report damages. Residents and businesses can also download a damage assessment form at http://oemc.macombgov.org. The form is also available in local government offices.
       "We need a true assessment of the damage if people are ever expecting some kind of reimbursement," Hackel said. "There is no guarantee, but if there is going to be a reimbursement the only way to express the need is through people actually reporting the damage."
       Locally, Washington Township reported the worst of the flooding, with the fire department handling storm damage calls among the 18 that came in the night of Aug. 11.
       Washington Township Fire Chief Brian Tyrell said the majority of the calls involved downed power lines or fallen trees across roads. He said the worst flood damage was in suburbs around Campground between 28 and 29 Mile roads.
       "There was some minor road flooding, some shoulders washed out and dirt on roadways, but the Road Commission is on top of those things," he said. "The retention ponds are full, but they're doing what they're supposed to be doing."
       Tyrell said there isn't much the department can do when it comes to flooding except mitigate hazards caused by water damage and inform the public of areas to avoid.
       "In this type of situation we are more reactive, unfortunately," he said.
       The Bruce-Romeo and Ray Township fire departments reported minimal flooding events in their communities, with most water draining away on Aug. 12.
      
Flood protocol

       When dealing with the aftermath of flooding, the Macomb County Health Department recommends a number of precautions:
       - Provide as much ventilation as possible when cleaning the flooded areas of a home. Anything that made contact with floodwater should be considered contaminated and be disinfected. Surfaces can be salvaged with soap and warm water followed by a disinfectant made up of half a cup of bleach per gallon of water.
       - Do not handle connected electrical cords or appliances if the current is on. Similarly, do not light a flame in an enclosed area where gas or oil appliances are located before placing them back in service. Consult with utility companies for further instructions.
       - Water from wells in flooded areas may be unsafe. Boil water for 10 minutes prior to drinking, or mix one teaspoon of liquid bleach to five gallons of water and let it sit for 30 minutes before consuming.
       - Any food items, including those in jars or bottles, should be tossed out if they came in contact with floodwater.
      


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