DETROIT (WWJ) – Multiple local roads and freeways look more like rivers — and nothing’s much improved since Monday evening’s heavy rains soaked metro Detroit.
That’s according to Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw, who said it’s still pretty bad out there.
“So far we’re still probably kind of at the same point where were last night,” said Shaw, speaking live on WWJ Newsradio 950 as Tuesday’s afternoon commute began. “Every major freeway has some type of issue that’s going on with it.”
Shaw said the worst of the worst flooded-out areas include the city of Warren at I-696 and Van Dyke, the I-75/696 interchange and I-75 at 9 Mile Road.
“Also, some Downriver areas had some freeway flooding, but also had some flooding up in the residential areas where there’s a lot of basements that are flooding out Downriver as well,” Shaw said.
The National Weather Service says 5.2 inches of rain fell Monday in Warren, 4.6 inches fell in Romulus and 4.4 inches fell in Wyandotte. The Lower Rouge River was 1.86 feet above flood stage in Inkster — and all of that was before Tuesday’s additional rainfall.
Currently, Shaw said he can’t estimate when metro Detroiters can expect to see flooded roadways once again open to traffic.
“Once we get done with, hopefully, the rain for today we’ll get a better judge of it,” Shaw said. “But right now it’s kinda of tough to tell how long it’s gonna take to get these pumps up and running and get the water off the freeways.”
After that, Shaw said, it’s a matter of clearing the freeways of dozens of soaked, abandoned vehicles spotted by MSP divers.
“And then the cleanup on the freeways as far as mud residue…There’s a lot of manhole covers that were blown off the freeways when the…flooding happened. And then we’re going to have to look at some of the structural damage as far as embankments…So it’s going to be a long process.”
Shortly before 3 p.m., WWJ’s Marie Osborne watched as state troopers brought in motor boats to assess the damage at I-696/ I-75 interchange.
“One is out in the water right now traveling very slowly underneath that overpass,” Osborne reported. “I would assume they are taking a very close look at the pylons that are holding up that overpass to make sure that it’s safe for traffic … they may also be looking for cars.”
“It is a bizarre sight,” Osborne added. “I-75, and you have a boat going down the roadway here. It is very strange.”
One of the many motorists forced to abandon their vehicles on flooded roads Monday night was 20-year-old Katrina Matthews, who got stuck at 13 Mile and Mound Road in Warren as she was driving home from work.
She tried calling Triple-A for help, had no luck; and when water seeped up all the way up to the hood of her car, she knew she had to bail out.
“I opened the door and was like — completely from my at least mid-section down — (in) this nasty water,” said Matthews.
She waded through the waist-deep waters to walk several miles home and is OK.
As for her submerged vehicle: “My car is completely done, hydro-locked. It’s finished,” Matthews told WWJ’s Sandra McNeil. “I don’t have credit because I’m a college student, so I don’t have a way to get another car. So I’m kind of out of luck right now.”
A State of Emergency was declared in Warren, and also in Wayne County.
Sign up for severe weather text alerts: Text STORM to 95001
For daily weather forecast text alerts: Text FORECAST to 95001