Washtenaw County issues state of emergency over flooding

Residents encouraged to not use flooded roads, damaged sidewalks

Heavy rains hit the region earlier this week. (Pixabay)

WASHTENAW COUNTY, Mich. – The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners has declared a state of emergency in response to flooding in homes following heavy rainfall over the past week.

The declaration, made on Thursday by Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners Chair and District 2 Commissioner Sue Shink, is effective immediately.

“Although Washtenaw County has already been working to assess and respond to flooding and to shelter and support residents who have been displaced by the flooding, this declaration will allow for local resources to be utilized to the fullest extent practical,” said Shink in a notice.

Read: Gov. Whitmer asks FEMA for flood damage assessment in Wayne County

Public infrastructure, such as streets and sidewalks, have been damaged as the result of overwhelmed sewer and stormwater systems, officials said.

Shink requested a declaration of a state of disaster or state of emergency from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer so that response operations within the county could be broadened, officials said.

In her letter to the governor, Shink asked for financial support to provide temporary shelter to community members displaced from their homes and to help with cleaning, removing and restoring damaged property.

For the request, Washtenaw County is collecting information about the extent of damage within the county. Residents are asked to self-report any damage to their homes from the recent storms through this.

“County employees will use this information to prioritize areas for formal damage assessments as we continue to work with the State of Michigan to pursue additional resources,” officials said.

Commissioner for District 4 Caroline Sanders said decisive action must be taken quickly to support residents who do not have flood insurance that covers their losses.

Read: Families try to save personal belongings from flood damage inside homes

The primary goal during a disaster response is to ensure safety and shelter to those involved and that the county’s emergency response continues to monitor and provide updates, said Washtenaw County Administrator Greg Dill.

Residents are asked to not drive on roads with standing water or use damaged sidewalks, officials said.

Those affected by the flooding are encouraged to take photos of damaged items for record-keeping. Non-emergency calls for in-home flooding and damage should be made to 211, while only emergency calls should be made to 911 and the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office.

Read: Michigan offers emergency relief to low-income residents who need home repairs from flood damage

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Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.