'One of the worst storms we've had'; weekend rain leaves Detroit freeways flooded Monday morning

It was "one of the worst storms we've had," said Michigan Department Of Transportation's Diane Cross on Sunday, who could give no timeline for when the city's main arteries in and out will be accessible again.

Many of Detroit's worst offenders for flooding, including I-94 and the Lodge were found again under enough water to stop all travel for days. 

"Our freeways are below ground in Wayne County because the city was already here when the freeways were built, so they were built more underground - lower level. So all that water goes to the lowest point - gravity right?" said Cross.

At I-94 and Cecil, located near the Detroit and Dearborn border, water was still several feet high with multiple vehicles submerged beneath. A tow truck was dragging a tractor-trailer that had partly strayed onto the freeway. 

According to one woman, the water levels have actually fallen in the area. It used to be as high as the signs bolted onto the overpass. Monday morning, those levels were several feet lower. But the weekend damage was still done.

While the annual storm that brings flooding to Metro Detroit once every spring arrived a little late this year, it still packed a punch over the weekend when up to seven inches of rain fell in parts of Detroit and Wayne County.

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People needed to be rescued from their cars, power outages blanketed the region leaving tens of thousands without electricity days later. And then there was the property damage where floodwaters seeped into people's homes and ruined their possessions. 

"I get depressed," said William Franklin, of Detroit. "I put rubber boots on and went down trying to save what I can save."

Franklin deals with flooding every time it rains a lot. But this weekend was the worst yet, he says. So was the case for Michelle Bryant, as well.

"All the dirt, it’s so filthy, dirt all over my clothes," Bryant said. "I got a new hot water tank that’s gone."

And there's no immediate timeline for when all that flooding will cease. 

According to MDOT, the power outages across the state have caused issues pumping water off of the roadways.

"The lack of power affected dozens of freeway pump houses which rely on power to pump water off the freeways. Temporary generators were brought into a number of locations which allowed the reopening of all other freeways except for I-94 in Detroit and Dearborn between Greenfield Road and I-75," MDOT said in a release.

For officials to solve Metro Detroit's flood problems, they need a place for all that water to go. But with outgoing creeks and rivers experiencing the same kind of high water levels, that's not an option.

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Once access does open up, any standing water on freeways would be pumped back into the Great Lakes. 

Once that happens, access still wouldn't be permitted on the freeways until tow trucks can come to remove the remaining cars and any debris is cleaned off the pavement. 

"There's so much rain in a short amount of time," said Cross.

Here is a list of the roadways that are still not clear:

  • Allen Park - Southfield Freeway ramps to I-94 closed, both northbound and southbound
  • Detroit - Lodge Freeway ramps to WB I-94 closed, both northbound and southbound
  • Detroit - Jeffries Freeway ramps to WB I-94 closed, both eastbound and westbound
  • Detroit - I-75 ramps to WB I-94 closed, both northbound and southbound
  • Wayne County -  EB I-94 exit ramp to Schaefer Highway closed
  • Wayne County - Hines Drive closed between Ann Arbor Trail and West Outer Drive, both eastbound and westbound