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State And City Leaders Urge Residents To Prepare For Flooding

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Drains are cleared in Detroit. (credit: Stephanie Davis/WWJ)

Drains are cleared in Detroit. (credit: Stephanie Davis/WWJ)

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DETROIT (WWJ) – With a rain in the forecast, warmer temperatures melting the snow, officials in Lansing and in Detroit are warning Michiganders to brace for flooding.

Gov. Rick Snyder said state officials are monitoring rivers and crews are cleaning storm drains along highways in the state’s Lower Peninsula to prepare for heavy storms.

Snyder told reporters Wednesday that the state and its residents must take precautions as temperatures rise along with the potential for flooding from rainfall and melting snow.

The National Weather Service says rain forecast Thursday could top an inch in some places in southern Michigan with some severe weather on the way.

Winter Weather Advisory was also issued Thursday, in effect only for areas along and north of the M-59 corridor. A High Wind Watch is also effect through Friday afternoon for all of Southeast Michigan. [For more, visit our weather page].

Snyder issued a statement urging residents to avoid driving on roads that appear flooded and make sure gutters and downspouts on homes and businesses are cleared.

“It’s been a challenging winter in the Great Lakes State and we’re not through with it yet,” Snyder said, in a media release. “The possibility of flooding across Lower Michigan presents hazardous situations that demand awareness, caution and preparedness. In the U.P., additional snow and an ongoing propane shortage will continue to present challenges. State authorities are monitoring situations across Michigan, are working closely with local and federal partners, and are reaching out with helpful information designed to protect our citizens and their property. Let’s all stay informed of the changing weather conditions and put safety first.”

State officials say for excessive snow accumulation, when possible, clearing roofs of snow and ice helps to minimize the risk of over-stressing the structure.

Residents are urged to be on the alert for large accumulating snow build-up or snowdrifts on roofs that are flat or only have a slight pitch, including garages, car ports, and porches. Roof ice dams can also form and cause water build-up, leading to interior damage. Residents who need to remove snow from a roof are instructed take extra care and work safely as the snow is heavy and roofs and other surfaces are slippery.

In Detroit, Mayor Mike Duggan’s spokesperson Alexis Wiley said they are asking residents to take action out in the street as well.

“Our crews are working to clear all the drains on the main streets, the state is working on the state roads, and we’re asking Detroiters to come out and help out on the drain in front of their home,” Wiley said. “Because we want to make sure … situations when we’ve got water puddling — we want to avoid that.”

The city has set up a special hotline number for residents to call if their drain isn’t working. Detroiters can call 313-267-7401 to report a problem.

The Department of Transportation and Michigan State Police offered motorists important tips in the event of a flood. Officials say motorists should not attempt to drive through a flooded road, as the depth of water is not always obvious and the road bed may be washed out, which may cause drivers to become stuck and susceptible to harm. Also, motorists should not drive around a barricade, as barricades are there for protection and safety purposes. 

In addition to clearing drains on state roads, MDOT also provided tips for local road agencies to help minimize effects of possible flooding.
• Clear snow and ice dams and debris and litter from drainage structures;
• Clear storm sewers and drainage structures of sand used for winter maintenance;
• Check roadside ditch lines for fallen trees or branches and other debris that could block drainage paths, and
• Verify storm drainage pump stations that move water from low areas are working and have backup generators in place.

[For more information on winter travel, visit the MSP website.

State officials say floods are one of the most common, and most costly, natural disasters. Preparing now for flood situations can minimize damage and injuries. Home and business owners should be prepared for the possible disruption of services, including electric, phone and local food and water sources. Protecting a home or business from potential flooding situations can involve a variety of actions, from inspecting and maintaining the property to installing protective devices or materials. Residents are also encouraged to clear storm drains along curbs to enable water to drain. If plugged, water has the potential to go into low-lying areas and flood basements.

In the event of a flood, officials urge residents stay tuned to local news outlets (WWJ-950, 24 hours a day!), follow emergency alerts and any evacuation orders and avoid flood waters, which may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage, harmful bacteria or be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.

More information on steps that families, home owners, and business owners can take is available at this link.

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