ROYAL OAK (WWJ/AP) – Communities across metro Detroit are just starting to realize the extent of damage caused by a record-breaking storm that dumped more than 6 inches of rain in some places.
More damage estimates are coming in related to the flooding. Oakland County’s preliminary estimate is $337 million; and officials say the number could go up as more damage assessments come in from home and business owners.
Officials in Royal Oak estimate that about 8,000 of the city’s 20,000 houses suffered flood damage from the storm — and sewage backed up into most of those homes.
Oakland County’s Homeland Security Division is urging residents to request assistance and report damage at their local city and township offices. Local communities are hoping the amount of damage will lead to state and or federal disaster aid.
At least 20,000 homes and businesses in Macomb County have flood damage, but that number is expected to grow.
In Warren alone, officials say an estimated 18,000 homes sustained some type of flood damage.
In the city of Dearborn, where an estimated 40 percent of homes were damaged, officials are dispatching assessment crews to document the aftermath, block-by-block.
“We’re not going door-to-door, we’re going through the neighborhoods and we’re spot checking. So, if you don’t get a knock on your door, don’t be upset or don’t be concerned that we didn’t hit your neighborhood. We’re doing about one house a block,” said Dearborn Emergency Management Coordinator Bradley Smith.
Smith said crews will also be documenting piles of water-logged belongings set on the curbs for trash pickup.
“As they see they debris piles outside of people’s homes, they capture the address and a picture or two of the debris pile,” he said. “Periodically, they’ll stop and speak to the residents out there and ask them how much damage they’ve occurred, how much water is in their basement.”
The assessments, which will continue on Friday, are part of the process to secure funding from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Detroit’s Department of Homeland Security plans to perform assessments over the next five to seven days.
Gov. Rick Snyder, who issued a disaster declaration for Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, 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.
In especially hard-hit Macomb County, officials urge affected property owners to call a special information hotline at 586-493-6767 and/or complete a “damage assessment report form” that can be found on the county Emergency Management website or at a local government office.
Macomb County has also established a damage assessment reporting center at the Southwest Health Center located at 27690 Van Dyke, Warren, 48093 for those residents who do not have access to a computer or need assistance in completing the form.
The National Weather Service said 4.57 inches of rain fell at Detroit Metro Airport, 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.
The storms left five major freeways under several feet of water, forcing thousands of people to abandon their water-logged cars. MDOT estimates it will cost around half-a-million dollars by the time all cleanup and repairs are complete.
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