DETROIT (WWJ) – This may mean help is coming for thousands of metro Detroiters affected by this week’s historic flooding.
Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday issued a state declaration of disaster or Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties and their affected municipalities.
“The flooding that continues to impact Southeastern Michigan is a disaster in every sense of the word. As local and state authorities work around the clock to deal with this situation, it is clear that the significant personal property and infrastructure damage, coupled with ongoing threats to public safety, warrants this state declaration. By taking this action, the state can fully coordinate and maximize efforts to support its local partners,” Snyder said, in a media release.
“I’m proud of our communities and residents throughout the region for pulling together in the face of these challenges. Please remember that safety must be our top priority, so I encourage everyone to exercise great caution as the cleanup continues.”
Some progress is being reported, but several Detroit-area freeways remained closed two days after heavy rain swamped much of the area and stranded motorists on water-clogged streets and highways and caused damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure.
Earlier Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has declared the state of emergency in Oakland County, saying they want to ensure that all channels are clear for their communities to request assistance in the aftermath of the historic flooding.
In a letter to Gov. Snyder, Patterson requested assistance to supplement local response and recovery including: debris removal, repair of damages related to flooding, overtime costs for first responders. Patterson asked the governor to declare a state of disaster in the county and, if conditions warrant , petition President Obama for assistance.
How will the state disaster declaration help?
“It opens the door for some possible help from FEMA and other federal agencies that would come in and give disaster relief,” Patterson told WWJ’s Beth Fisher.
“But you have to qualify,” Patterson said. “Just the fact that there’s been a disaster declaration by myself in Oakland County and the governor in all three counties does not mean that they’re simply gonna come to your doorstep.”
Patterson said the heaviest damage in Oakland County has been in Oak Park, Ferndale, Hazel Park , and Madison Heights.
States of emergency were also declared in Macomb County and the cities of Warren, Ferndale and Highland Park.
The National Weather Service said 4.57 inches of rain fell at Detroit Metro Airport Monday, breaking the previous record of 2.06 inches set back in 1964. It’s the second-highest one-day rainfall on record for Detroit, behind 4.74 inches that fell on July 31, 1925.
Gov. Snyder said he wants to remind property owners to work with their insurance agent or provider if they wish to file a claim. Consumers can also contact the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services at 1-877-999-6442 with questions or concerns.