LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency in Wayne County Saturday to help address threats to public health and safety related to heavy rainfall, which resulted in widespread flooding, power outages, flooded roadways, stranded motorists, flooding of homes, and displaced residents.
Whitmer said help is on the way for residents impacted by the floods, but it’s uncertain when that help will come and how much Michigan will have to fund it.
“We’re working really closely with our local and federal partners,” Whitmer said. “I’ve declared a State of Emergency and that can be amended at any time to include communities if necessary.”
Whitmer said she’s been in touch with Federal Emergency Management Agency and members of Congress, but disaster relief may not come in time as rain is expected to return to Metro Detroit.
“It doesn’t happen immediately but I wanted to get the declaration in so that the gears at the federal level can get moving,” Whitmer said. “We’re going to need assistance. We have people that have their homes flooded and some of that is waste-water and some of that is sewage. Dangerous.”
Money is available to help the state, but it’s tied up in Lansing and Washington, D.C.
At the state level, billions of dollars will need to be doled for roads and bridges. The deal that is slowly making its way through would set aside $210 million for road projects. Whitmer hopes the weekend storms would spur some to action.
“Maybe this is one more example where they can see lacking investment is really dangerous,” Whitmer said.
Whitmer said the state will need to change once the money comes in and focus on roads, pipes and other projects that can handle more severe weather fueled by climate change.
“I mean it’s undeniable, right? We’ve had two 500 year to 1,000 year events that we’ve seen in 14 months,” Whitmer said. “You’re seeing this play out in the west with record heat. We have had record precipitation. This is a very real impact of climate change.”