Record Rain and Flash Floods Cause Chaos on Detroit Highways

Floods in the Detroit metro area and parts of south east Michigan brought highways to a standstill yesterday. The floods came after thunderstorms and over 5 inches (12.7cm) of rain on Monday 11 August.

Highway Chaos

AAA received over 700 calls in just 12 hours – around 10 times the typical amount. One driver was injured after being trapped in his vehicle in Warren. The flash floods prompted Michigan state police to warn drivers to stay off all expressways in metropolitan Detroit. All the expressways were flooded at different points at one stage during the storms.

Homeowners suffered in the floods also, with hundreds of residential streets under water and houses and basements flooded. Parts of downtown Detroit, Rochester, Grosse Pointe, Dearborn, Taylor, Canton, Livonia and Wyandotte all saw some flooding.

At least some were able to enjoy the deluge…

Photo: John Wodarski / Twitter
Photo: John Wodarski / Twitter

Detroit Zoo announced that it will be closed as a result of flood damage, although all animals are safe.

Record Rainfall

Most of the rain fell in the space of just a few hours, causing chaos for motorists in the
area. At one point in the early evening, 1.24 inches of rain fell at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in just 24 minutes, according to Weather.com.

The National Weather Service say that the total of 4.57 inches of rain that fell for the day is the second-heaviest calendar-day rainfall on record in Detroit, after the 4.74-inch rainfall of July 31, 1925.

According to the National Weather Service, rainfall amounts for yesterday were:

  • Warren – 5.2 inches
  • Rochester – 4.9 inches
  • Romulus – 4.6 inches
  • Southfield – 4.54 inches
  • Wyandotte – 4.4 inches
  • Taylor – 4.25 inches
  • Garden City – 4.16 inches
  • Livonia – 4 inches

River Levels

The record rainfall is increasing river levels in the area, increasing risk of flooding. Levels of Ecorse Creek at Dearborn Heights could shoot up by as much as 8 feet in one day. Levels are likely to reach over 10 feet and major flood stage in the next 24 hours. Levels of the Clinton River near Clinton Township are also likely to rise, reaching over 18 feet and moderate flood stage some time on 12 August 2014.

Flood Warnings

Flood warnings remain in place across south eastern Michigan, including Oakland County, Macomb County and Wayne County .