Metro Detroit flooding persists, tornado damage in Michigan's thumb, Ypsilanti murder suspect found dead

It was "one of the worst storms we've had," said MDOT'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. At I-94 and Cecil, which takes people between Detroit and Dearborn, the water was still several feet high with multiple vehicles submerged beneath.

"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.

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.

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.

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

Video shows damage tornado that ripped through Port Austin

A tornado touched down near Port Austin this weekend, hammering the thumb of Michigan and leaving neighborhoods managing property damage for blocks. The severe thunderstorms that deluged Metro Detroit also brought high winds and several tornado warnings over the weekend.

On Saturday, winds up to 120 mph helped land at least five twisters in the east Michigan province. The Port Austin event had an almost seven-mile path and a width of 400 yards. In addition to homes being damaged, trees were also sheared, and barns were also damaged.

There were several other tornados reported in other parts of the state due to the inclement weather last weekend. 

The severe weather also knocked out power for many of the residents in Huron County. Some 700 people were without power in Port Austin as of Monday morning, according to DTE's outage map.

Ypsi murder suspect found dead in cell

The man accused of murdering an Ypsilanti woman in 2018 and also named a person of interest in the deaths of a Detroit couple was found dead in his cell Sunday.

Orland Whitfield's body was found during a routine safety check at 7 a.m. He was staying in a single-person cell where he had been since his arrest Tuesday. Authorities didn't suspect any foul play in his death, but an investigation is ongoing.

Murder suspect Orlando Whitfield.

Murder suspect Orlando Whitfield.

Whitfield had been released on bond with a tether because of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. However, he was soon arrested and placed back in jail after he violated his bond and cut his tether. 

Shortly before he was arrested again, he was named in connection to a double murder where police found a 9-month baby alone in a house where the bodies of both of its parents were found dead.

Guide to the Traverse City Cherry Festival

The National Cherry Festival returns to Traverse City this year. The annual event from July 3-10 includes a mix of in-person and virtual events.

The music, farmer's markets, bike rides, and beer tasting will fill every day of the festival.

Last year's Cherry Festival was canceled due to the pandemic, stinging a major economic driver to Traverse City.

 More information will be available here

Fatal crash I-94 and Barrett

Michigan State Police say a driver of a passenger car has died after driving at a high rate of speed and crashing on I-94. 

Around 12:45 a.m. Monday, troopers were dispatched to I-94 and Barrett Avenue in the city of Detroit where a car went up an embankment and struck a tree. 

The driver was ejected from their vehicle. A 32-year-old resident from Clinton Township, they were pronounced dead at the scene. 

It's unclear if alcohol or drugs was a factor and an autopsy report is pending. 

(Courtesy of Michigan State Police)

What else we're watching

  1. Kamala Harris's visit to Detroit has been postponed due to widespread flooding in the city. She had planned on traveling to Michigan to promote the COVID-19 vaccine. More information will be available at a later date. 
  2. FEMA will be providing an update on the city's flooding at 5 p.m. Monday. Those that have been impacted by the storm can phone into the meeting via audio or video. More information here
  3. A Ferndale staple has closed shop over staffing shortages. Rose O'Grady's on Nine Mile hosted the last call on Sunday. 
  4. The Michigan House of Representatives will announce a new $15 million commitment to the Detroit Police Athletic League. 
  5. State police are also advising the public about a motorcycle crash at westbound I-94 and Van Dyke in Detroit. 

Live on FOX 2

Daily Forecast

The dry start to Monday won't last forever as more rain is expected to start later this afternoon. Thunderstorms are likely to accompany it - as will they later this week with most days expecting some kind of precipitation in the afternoon. As for temperatures, today will be one of the hottest before peaking tomorrow at 87 degrees.

US airstrikes target Iran-backed militia groups in Syria, Iraq

The U.S. military, under the direction of President Joe Biden, carried out airstrikes against what it said were "facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups" near the border between Iraq and Syria, drawing condemnation from Iraq's military and calls for revenge by the militias.

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the militias were using the facilities to launch unmanned aerial vehicle attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq. It was the second time the Biden administration has taken military action in the region since he took over earlier this year.

Kirby said the U.S. military targeted three operational and weapons storage facilities Sunday — two in Syria and one in Iraq.