Frustrated Detroit-area residents clean up flooded homes

Flooding Michigan
Posted at 2:55 PM, Jun 28, 2021

DETROIT (AP) -- A weekend storm in the Detroit area kept flooded sections of Interstate 94 closed for a third day Monday while disgusted homeowners trudged to the curb with possessions ruined by a gross stew of water and sewage that backed up into basements.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said "old infrastructure combined with climate change" and power outages created the misery. Thousands of people were affected in Detroit, Dearborn and the Grosse Pointe communities.

"Lend a hand to your neighbors and loved ones who are struggling. This is a devastating moment," Whitmer told reporters, standing next to a small lake on I-94.

The National Weather Service said more than 6 inches (15.2 centimeters) of rain fell Friday night and Saturday morning in some areas. Grosse Pointe Park said it measured 8.1 inches (20.5 centimeters) over 24 hours.

Rain for the entire month of June typically is 3 inches (7.6 centimeters), the governor said, so "we had double that in a period of hours."

In Grosse Pointe Farms, piles of spoiled exercise bikes, sleeper sofas, luggage, hockey equipment, toys and family keepsakes were dumped along the curb. The city sent a trash truck out on Sunday to try to make a dent in the mess.

Marcos Bonafede of Grosse Pointe Park said water reached the ceiling of his basement and killed his cat, Pancho.

"This loss paralyzed me," Bonafede said in a Facebook plea for help to clear out the basement.

Flooded homes were linked to a pump station failure in Detroit at 1 a.m. Saturday, Grosse Pointe Park told residents. Detroit officials planned to speak to reporters Monday afternoon.

On I-94, pumps get rid of water on the major highway, where many stretches are below ground level in Detroit. But power outages stymied the effort over the weekend, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Water on I-94 will recede as swollen rivers and creeks are able to swallow more of it from the pump stations, spokeswoman Diane Cross said.

Police, meanwhile, were still trying to tow abandoned vehicles that stalled on I-94 when drivers believed they could get through the water.

Nicole Connaire of Grosse Pointe Park said she was looking for a garden statue of a little boy and girl that apparently was swept away during the storm.

"They floated away somewhere and we cannot for the life of us locate them anywhere. ... It might bring some joy to this otherwise crazy time," she said on Facebook.