LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Officials have activated the State Emergency Operations Center due to severe flooding in southeastern Michigan.
The state says the center was activated late Monday, following rains that began around midday. State personnel are monitoring the situation and coordinating response with local officials.
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, officials said Monday evening.
Things are so bad in Warren that Mayor Jim Fouts wants the governor to call in the National Guard to assist residents dealing with the storm’s aftermath.
“At the minimum, I’m going to request that the governor help us get some federal aid because literally, there are so many basements that are flooded, there’s so many cars that have been abandoned,” Fouts said.
Drivers on Tuesday are being asked to avoid the roads as much as possible. State police Lt. Michael Shaw said all area expressways in the area are flooded at different points and it’s hard to judge the depth of standing water. He said drivers should “avoid non-essential use of the metro Detroit freeway system.”
“We experienced a mudslide on the Southfield freeway so we’re currently looking at trying to get the mud off the freeway and we’re going to have to have MDOT come out there and make sure the roadway and the embankment is good,” Shaw said. “I-75 and I-696 is a major point for us, we’re still looking at about 12 feet of water that’s in that interchange. We’re making some progress, but it’s a slow go.”
Shaw said things are so bad, they’ve had to call on their dive team to help assist stranded motorists and clear vehicles from roadways.
“This is a new one for us, we’ve actually got divers going to different areas of the freeway system,” Shaw said. “We want to make sure we don’t have anybody stuck in a vehicle, so our dive team is being dispatched to different parts of the freeway system… I-94 and Michigan Avenue, and I believe their next stop will be the I-696 I-275 interchange.”
Shaw said anyone still stuck on the freeway system should call 911 and a rescue crew will be sent to their location.
It’s unclear how long the freeway closures will last.
“Once we get the water down and get the vehicles towed out of there that are stuck, we can look at opening back up our freeway system,” Shaw said.
Meantime, the storm has left about 22,000 homes and businesses without power across metro Detroit.
Sign up for severe weather text alerts: Text STORM to 95001
For daily weather forecast text alerts: Text FORECAST to 95001
TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.