August 13, 2014 at 1:00 am

Setup delays for Dream Cruise possible after flooding

Crew members from Tectonics Industries set up the Chevrolet Performance display on Woodward Ave.. (Lauren Abdel-Razzaq / The Detroit News)

Organizers with the Woodward Dream Cruise say they don’t expect any lingering problems for Saturday’s event, although preparations during the week could be delayed after a deluge of rain Monday left homes and highways flooded.

“The weather is supposed to break,” said Greg Rassel, director of the Department of Public Works for Royal Oak and a member of the Dream Cruise board. “Setup during the week could be a little late being completed.”

As communities across Metro Detroit tried to recover from Monday’s flash floods that left many roads impassable, preparation ahead of the cruise continued Tuesday afternoon prior to another rainstorm.

“We’re squeaking it in,” Geoff Garavaglia, a supervisor with Warren-based Tectonics Industries, which was putting up scaffolding and signage north of 13 Mile and Woodward Avenue in the Chevrolet Performance display area.

“There were delays, but we’re pretty organized and everything is coming through OK.”

The Woodward Dream Cruise is heavily influenced by the weather and in the last 19 years it’s been held, there has been everything from beautiful sunny skies to the dramatic thunderstorms that ripped out canopies and took down trees in 2011.

“I imagine there will be more people (later in the week),” Rassel said Tuesday afternoon. “Nobody really went out last night ... due to the weather.”

Within a four-hour span, Detroit Metro Airport saw just over 4½ inches of rain Monday, which caused major flooding along Interstate 94 and surface streets, said Sara Schultz, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in White Lake Township. The rest of the week leading up to Saturday should be good weather for cruising, she said.

“We are looking at most dry conditions all the way through Friday with temperatures in the lower to mid 70s for the most part,” she said. “It will be really nice unless you’re a person who likes the heat.”

As for Saturday, the cruise might be interrupted by thunderstorms in the afternoon. Schultz said there is a 30 percent chance of rain Saturday afternoon and evening with a high of 80 degrees.

Ken Savage, head of the Fun Time Cruzers car club in Shelby Township, said most people wouldn’t be bothered by a little rain on Saturday.

“There’s some cars out there, the most valuable, the most expensive, the ones with no tops, where they probably wouldn’t come,” said Savage. “But a 20 or 30 percent chance of rain isn’t going to keep the cruisers away.”

Savage, who drives an orange pearl 1969 Pontiac Firebird convertible, says some of the best cruising on Woodward comes on the Thursday and Friday ahead of the actual event anyway.

“We wait all year for this,” he said. “Thursday and Friday will be beautiful sunny days and the cruising should be good.”

lrazzaq@detroitnews.com
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