August 14, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Flood toll: Costs add up as cities, counties tally damage to homes, roads

Kevin Cockrell removes basement carpet destroyed by flooding at his home in Warren on Tuesday. (David Coates / Detroit News)

The storm toll is becoming clear three days after near-record rains flooded the Metro area.

In Warren, the city’s assessing department estimated Thursday more than 18,000 homes and structures were damaged with a total cash value of $1.2 billion.

“I would dare say that 90 percent of them are homes, we don’t have thousands of building structures,” Fouts said. “In Warren, we have 50,000 homes. My estimate is roughly one-third of the structures in the city were affected by flooding.

Fouts said a team of assessors will continue surveying homes the rest of the week.

Structures damaged by flooding include the police station, the community center, the 37th District Court and the Owen Jax Recreation Center, Fouts said.

In Warren there were more than 1,000 abandoned vehicles in the city, 200 alone on Mound and Ten Mile roads, Fouts said.

“We lost at least 10 police cars,” he added.

In Macomb County, Warren suffered the greatest effects from Monday’s storm. Roseville had about 100 homes with flooded basements. Standing water blocked or hindered travel at many intersections throughout the county Monday night and Tuesday morning.

On Wednesday, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel declared a state of emergency.

In Dearborn, city officials estimated 40 percent of the homes and businesses sustained basement flooding or sewer backups.

Damage assessment crews will be out in neighborhoods beginning Thursday afternoon, Mayor John B. O’Reilly Jr. said in a press release. The teams will photograph curbside garbage and ask residents if they can photograph damage in basements. This is voluntary.

The City of Ferndale’s department of public works and the city manager’s office sent teams out to observe properties that were putting a lot of damaged, flood-related items out to the curb.

“That is how we are beginning to track what percentage of the community was impacted,” said Joseph Gacioch, chief innovation officer in the city manager’s office. “There is no actual number yet but we anticipate a significant amount of the community.”

Gacioch said city hall was closed Tuesday because flood waters reached four feet.

Officials in Royal Oak estimate that about 8,000 of the city’s 20,000 houses suffered flood damage.

George Miller, Oakland County’s director of the department of health and human services, said a rough monetary estimate of flood damage will be released by noon Friday.

Roseville City Manager Scott Adkins said his city fared better than Warren with just 100 homes reported to have flood damage.

“We are going through the assessment process, providing questionnaires to the residents,” he said. “We don’t have a calculation of the dollar value at this point.”

Adkins said infrastructure issues are being addressed.

“We had flooding at city hall, not to the degree that Warren had — several inches versus several feet,” he said. “Although we may have areas across the city that are impacted, the southeastern most portion of the city seems to have had the most impact and the most concentration of property damage.”

Peter Locke of the Macomb County Emergency Management said his department is tallying the damage.

“Flooding assessment is difficult. After a tornado you can drive down the road and you can see the damage,” said Locke, an emergency management aide. “For flooding you can drive by a house and think nothing is wrong but that owner has 8 feet of water in the basement.”

Diane Cross, spokeswoman for Michigan Department of Transportation, said they don’t have a solid assessment yet of the cost of rescue and cleanup efforts.

“We estimated $500,000 and that was just to get water off roads, manpower, people working all those hours but it is too early to have numbers,” Cross said. “When we start talking about repairs, that will be another budget and another number and we don’t have that.”

MDOT and the Michigan State Police don’t have numbers on how many vehicles were towed.

On Monday, Van Dyke Road was under five feet of water, Fouts said. Several police officers got out of their cars to aid trapped motorists. There were boats at Van Dyke and 13 Mile. One boat rescued a 13-year-old girl hanging on to a yield sign.

The mayor added that if the federal government can help flood victims in various parts of the world, it can help flood victims in the Detroit metropolitan area and specifically those in Warren.

“The residents deserve no less. We give to the federal government and the state,” he said. “It is time they reciprocated and give to us. I have residents that are on the edge; they can not afford this.”

To speed Warren’s cleanup efforts, Fouts has approved overtime for the public works, sanitation and water departments.

Residents can place their discarded items at the curb regardless of their scheduled trash pickup day.

“Our sanitation employees are working 12 hours and this weekend to pick up items at the curb, and our goal is to have the city cleared by next week,” Fouts said.

Residents who need help cleaning up their flooded basements can call the Warren City Hall hotline at (586)574-4526. Insurance claims can be filed by contacting (586) 574-4670.

The Red Cross can also be contacted at (800) 774-6066 for those who have experienced flooded basements and are displaced.

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