Wednesday, 13 August 2014

LIFE: The Great Detroit Flood of 2014



Man what a crazy week we've just had weather wise. If you follow me on twitter you might have noticed me talking about the endless amount of rain we had on Monday evening - the second amount of rainfall ever on record for this area - second to such an event back in 1925. It has come to be known in the world of hashtags as the #DetroitFlood event, and being British well I like to chat weather.

It started raining around 11 in the morning as just a really grey, dull Monday morning. But the four hour deluge didn't start until around four in the afternoon. Deluge to say the least we got about 4.57 inches. Combine heavy rain and overworked water pumps which then broke, and you end up with freeways flooded 14 foot deep with water. Yes 14 feet of it - like in the first image. That junction (the meeting point of I-75 and I-696, probably one of the busiest junctions in Metro Detroit) became the Great Lakes region newest lake. 

Main roads (8 mile, Woodward) to pretty much all the freeways had junctions and mile upon mile under water and closed, with Detroit and pretty much all the lower Oakland and Macomb counties affected. There's so many photographs and tales of people being rescued from the roofs of their cars - over a 1000 were abandoned they reckon, water flooding basements, buses filling up with water and people boating along the freeways - many of which are still closed, two days later, and sadly three people lost their life. 

While half a mile down the road we had a flooded freeway, luckily we came out the other side okay although we did get some funky looking water bubbling up into our basement sinks. But thanks to a very overworked sump pump in our basement we came out fine unlike some of our neighbours who have around 3" of standing water below. Now it took me to moving to Michigan to know what a sump pump was but it's pump used in basements where flooding is regular and where the water table is higher than the foundation of the home - it's basically a fixed feature in these parts and they automatically kick on when the water level gets too high. Still it was a little touch and go - having just brought the house and not knowing how well the pump or if there were foundation issues, we were certainly blessed on Monday night to come out the other side okay.

DetroitFlood  
Trying to go about our normal routine on Tuesday was a bit of a challenge, not only with all the main routes Joe could take to work being closed but just being able to get anywhere. With freeways closed, driving over their overpasses to see a deserted freeway at rush hour is super surreal. The above picture was taken at the Dequindre overpass over I-696 on our way home, normally at 4pm on a Tuesday that road would be packed out. Ya know, Detroit is the Motor City, we don't really do public transport, this area is all about cars. Those freeways never stop, yet to be replaced with soil covered roads and cars abandoned here and there, it's eerie to say the least.

DetroitFlood

The forecasts for thunderstorms and heavy rain on Tuesday didn't luckily add any further issues. It just liked to look menacing as we drove along 9 mile. Doom and gloom. After the great freeze of January and now the great flood, Michigan certainly likes to throw extreme weather at you.

12 comments:

  1. I can't imagine that much rain. I suppose you get used to different weather when you're living elsewhere.

    Caroline
    www.puttingyourlifeinorder.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Well, that wasn't our norm for rainfall ...

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  2. Eek! That is a lot of rain. We've never had bad flooding in our area thankfully and certainly nowhere near as bad as that! Fourteen feet you say?! That's crazy. I've been complaining a lot about the weather we've been getting lately; no more blue skies just dark clouds, wind and rain. Maybe I should complain a little less as we clearly haven't got it that bad!
    Glad to hear the house held up well though. I can't imagine how much of a nightmare that would have been otherwise!
    Debi x

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    1. My parents house verges on flooding every couple of years, got to the point where they have flood shields for the airbricks and doors, luckily they have them because last month there was a huge thunder storm and pretty much their entire street got flooded by the shields saved them. It's a weight lifted knowing the house can pull through something like that, we did get a massive puddle in the garden some water was coming up in the basement sink but nothing we can't easily sort! Helps that all the houses are higher than the roads so everything pretty much drains away even if the drainage system around here isn't the most modern!

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  3. That is a crazy amount of rain, and it's so sad to hear that there were some fatalities because of the sudden flooding. I'm glad that you guys are okay and that you didn't get flooded. I hope that things get back to normal soon!

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    1. Especially when it wasn't predicted to being all that bad, it came out of nowhere!

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  4. oh god, i shudder thinking of that much rain. i can't imagine all the damage that did :( hopefully it'll be all sunshine from here on out!

    xo marlen
    Messages on a Napkin

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    1. Yeah, i'll be glad if I don't see rain for a while! It puts me a little on edge atm!

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  5. Your weather sucks! I'm glad that everything was ok for you guys, what a terrible start to a new home... flooding! Flash flooding is the worst, everyone loses their heads and everything just comes to a stand still. It's we there, but not THAT wet... I'll stop complaining about the rain now ;)

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    1. Nah you can complain, you are British after all, it's in our nature :) People have been complaining on all the newspaper facebook pages that the freeway people haven't been clearing the water away quick enough, yeah like it's easy to drain 12ft of water over night!

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  6. Eeek! I won't complain about the fact it is only 16 degrees today then! I hope it gets better x

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  7. Wow that's crazy! I'm glad you guys made it through ok!

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