Historic rain event slams metro Detroit

DETROIT – A historic rain event is now winding down across metro Detroit, but the damage has been done.

Earlier Monday afternoon, a batch of moderate rain was moving northward through the area. Rain was ending just south of the state line, and that was moving north, too. While we knew that some areas in southern Monroe and Lenawee counties have received 1 to 3 inches of rain, it was felt that we could handle that.

But what came next was NOT expected: Back in the area where the rain had ended, a second batch of even heavier rain developed out of nowhere and parked itself right over the heart of the metro area -- you can see that on this radar image that I tweeted out at 6:15 p.m. By that time, it became apparent that an extremely heavy amount of total rain was going to fall on the core of our freeway system, and the National Weather Service issued a Flood Warning.

Detroit absolutely obliterated its Aug. 11 rainfall record, with an unofficial rainfall total (as of 8:45 p.m. Monday) of 4.57 inches of rain recorded at Detroit Metro Airport by the automated weather observing equipment there.

View: PDF of total rainfalls in southeast Michigan

This is also one of the heaviest single rainfall totals in Detroit weather history.

Detroit's Heaviest Rain Days: 

1.  4.74" - July 31, 1925

2.  4.54" - August 11, 2014

3.  4.51" - August 17, 1926

4.  4.34" - July 7, 1998

I have lived my entire life and worked my entire career here, and I have never seen as widespread a flooding event.

Yes, I vividly remember the May 2004 historic month of rain -- our second wettest month ever with 8.46 inches of rain -- but that was a bunch of rainy days that really added up.

I also remember some individual intense thunderstorms that flooded ONE freeway. But I don't ever remember EVERY freeway being flooded out.

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