DETROIT (WWJ) – Several motorists had to be rescued from their vehicles Thursday morning after torrential downpours caused extreme flooding on the Lodge Freeway under Cobo Center in Detroit.
The northbound Lodge remained closed at that location all day, not reopening to traffic until early into the evening rush.
Detroit Police director Michael Woody had this message for anyone heading downtown via M-10:
“Anybody who is on the Lodge Freeway coming southbound into the downtown area, please make your way to some of the surface streets. There’s flooding the closer you get to the downtown area,” he said.
The flooding was especially bad underneath the Cobo Center, where some vehicles were nearly completely under water.
“There were three vehicles that were actually trapped underneath Cobo Hall. Troopers and local fire were able to get all three of those parties out,” said State Police Lt. Mike Shaw. “We’ve also done some other vehicle rescues, a person having an asthma attack and another individual who drove their Mini Cooper into a puddle.”
Even heavy construction equipment that was brought in to remove the waterlogged vehicles ended up getting stuck in the flood waters.
Shaw said today is not the day to test your vehicle’s limits in the rain.
“If you see flooded water across the roadway, don’t drive into it,” he said. “You don’t know how deep it is until it’s too late, and then you’re stuck and we have to go get you. … When we get this much rain, you just have to realize that there’s going to be some flooding. Leave a lot earlier, slow down and be careful.”
MDOT’s Diane Cross said pumps along the freeway can only work so fast to clear the water.
“People need to realize, we’ve had so much rain that the ground has absorbed all it can,” she said. “There’s nowhere for this water to go, and then it goes to the lowest spot — and a number of our freeways are below ground, so it goes down onto our roadways.”
Flood waters receded and the freeway reopened to traffic shortly after 5 p.m. The exit ramp to Jefferson remains closed.
The Southfield Freeway northbound at Michigan Ave. was also closed due to flooding, but reopened shortly after 3 p.m. Southbound I-75 was closed for hours in Detroit but reopened around noon.
Meantime, an Areal Flood Watch remains in effect through Friday evening for metro Detroit and beyond, including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston, Shiawassee, St. Clair and Washtenaw counties. (A Flood Warning earlier issued for all of Southeast Michigan has expired).