Flood Watch in Metro Detroit: 4 things to do before heavy rain arrives

Rain total forecast for Jan. 10-12, 2020.
Rain total forecast for Jan. 10-12, 2020. (WDIV)

A Flood Watch will be in effect for Metro Detroit through Sunday morning as a winter storm moves through Michigan this weekend.

Rain becomes heavy on Saturday with thunderstorms possible, but a potent cold front crossing the area during the morning will drop temperatures from those 50s to or a little below freezing generally north of I-696. The farther north you are, especially north of M-59, the quicker the resulting changeover to freezing rain, and the heavier your ice accumulation will be.

A Winter Storm Watch is in effect Saturday through Sunday morning for these areas, as ice thicknesses could be near one-half inch, which would be a crippling ice storm. Regardless of the timing of your change to ice, 2-to-3 inches of rain is likely, with widespread flood concerns across our area. If you have a basement and live in a flood prone area, you should strongly consider moving important items in your basement either to a higher floor, or onto tables.

Here are some quick links:

Rain continues into Saturday night, with some areas receiving freezing rain possibly changing back to a period of rain but, by that point, the damage will be done. Even if you don’t get ice, keep in mind that temperatures will drop into the mid 20s (-4 degrees Celsius) by Sunday morning, so areas of water will freeze into ice. Some of us, particularly to the north, could start Sunday with some snow, but that will quickly come to an end.

How to prepare:

  • If you didn’t do it in the fall, make sure your gutters are clear (or hire somebody to do it).
  • Make sure that your downspouts drain away from your house. If those downspouts discharge all of that rain close to your home, then you are essentially doubling the amount of rain affecting you. It’s easy to buy pieces of downspout at your hardware store and extend your downspouts away from the house.
  • Put important items in your basement up on tables, or move them upstairs.
  • If you have storm drains on your street, make sure the grate is clear and free of debris so that water can flow freely into those drains.
  • Bonus: Be sure to stock up on fresh batteries for flashlights and other battery-powered items.

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About the Author:

Local 4 meteorologist Paul Gross was born in Detroit and has spent his entire life and career right here in southeast Michigan. Paul has researched, written and produced eight half-hour documentaries for WDIV, as well as many science, historical and environmental stories.