DETROIT – Some highways and streets were still impassable Tuesday after a storm dumped more than 6 inches of rain on southeastern Michigan, stranding motorists and prompting state police divers to search flooded freeways.
The state continues to warn commuters against driving in affected areas.
"The freeway system is not safe right now. A lot of the areas may be electrified," said Michigan State Police Lt. Michael Shaw. He added that MSP would be towing cars that had to be abandoned on freeways and primary roads. Drivers should call MSP to find out where they can pick up their car.
Weather service meteorologist Dan Thompson said the highest rainfall report was 6.25 inches, also in suburban Detroit. The weather service said 4.57 inches fell at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus.
"The Detroit metro area ... had a long period of rainfall and there were some embedded thunderstorms that enhanced the rainfall rates," Thompson said.
On Tuesday morning, portions of Interstates 75, 94, 696 and the Lodge and Southfield freeways were closed. Water remained on some roadways, while mud, debris and vehicles blocked the path for traffic in places. Motorists were stranded on flooded roads in the Flint area.
As of noon, DTE Energy said it had16,000 customers scattered throughout metro Detroit still without power
Shaw told WWJ-AM that a dive team was checking Interstate 94 at Michigan Avenue and planned to check the interchange for interstates 696 and 275. He said there had been no reports of people missing in the floods, but that police wanted to be sure.
Basements were flooded in several Detroit suburbs, and water lingered on some streets where motorists were stranded during the Monday evening commute. About ¼-inch of rain was in the forecast for Tuesday, Thompson said.
The State Emergency Operations Center was monitoring the flooding and cleanup.
The Michigan Department of Transportation was assessing damage to roadways and used front-end loaders Tuesday morning to clear mud from portions of some freeways that flooded.
In the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak, the Detroit Zoo was closed Tuesday after heavy rains and flooding damaged facilities and equipment, including the Arctic Ring of Life exhibit that houses polar bears, seals and arctic foxes.
Flood warnings continue until further notice for:
- Rouge River in Detroit, Dearborn and Inkster
- Ecorse Creek South in Dearborn Heights
- Clinton River in Mt. Clemens, Sterling Heights and Clinton Township
Be careful and remember the National Weather Service slogan: "Turn around, don't drown."
Looking ahead, a slow moving area of low pressure is passing over lower Michigan this morning and is expected to bring a few more showers to metro Detroit. They should be light showers, but a even little rain can mean a lot in areas still bailing out from Monday's flooding rains. Keep an eye on those basements.
A cool front should pass through into the middle afternoon bringing, yet again, more rain showers and isolated storms. Highs today will likely peak in the mid-70s, with winds from the SW turning NW 5-15 mph.
Midweek weather looks great, although not very warm and summer-like. Clouds may build in the afternoon Wednesday as cooler air pools in. A few spotty sprinkles are also possible.
Otherwise, very comfy temps with a mix of clouds and sun tomorrow. Highs will be in the mid 70s Wednesday through Friday with plenty of sunshine by Thursday and beyond.
Also expect cool overnights in the mid 50s starting tonight. They may dip into the 40s in some spots Thursday and Friday mornings. Plan to give your AC a break.
Weekend weather looks great with plenty of sunshine and highs getting back into the low 80s. One computer model calls for a few showers late Sunday but we won't worry about that until we're closer to the weekend.