Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency Saturday for Wayne County after six inches of rain hit parts of the area in less than 24 hours.
The heavy rain caused flooding throughout the county, filling basements with water and closing freeways. Dozens of cars were abandoned on the road around the region after they stalled in the high water.
The State Emergency Operation Center was activated to respond to the effects of Friday and Saturday’s rain.
The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department held a midday news conference to talk about its response to residential street flooding and damage to homes.
Director Gary Brown says the weather forecasts hadn’t indicated the amount of rain the region received.
“It was going to be five inches over five days,” says Brown. “If we had got that we would have been fine. But we got six inches over several hours and that’s … it’s the amount and the intensity over a short period of time that caused the damage that we saw.”
Wayne State University closed for the day Saturday because of the flooding. Several buildings on campus were inundated with water. AT&T’s mobile phone service was knocked out for several hours.
Severe weather threatened the state again Saturday evening with the National Weather Service issuing tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings for areas to the north and west of Metro Detroit.