Flood warnings extended for Wayne, Macomb, Monroe

Payne Lubbers
The Detroit News

After a weekend of rain, the continued threat of lake flooding has prompted the National Weather Service to extend its lakeshore warnings for Wayne, Monroe and Macomb counties. 

Flood warnings for Wayne, Macomb and Monroe counties and Lake Erie have been issued until 8 a.m. Monday. 

A large tree lays broken inside the Elmwood Cemetery in Detroit on Sunday following heavy rains.

Northeast winds over Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie, combined with record high levels of the lakes, will increase the chance of flooding along the shore, the weather service said. The increase in onshore flooding from the wind will temporarily worsen lakeshore flooding. 

A lakeshore flood warning means that flooding is occurring or imminent along the lake.  Residents on or near the shore in the warned area should be alert for rising water, the National Weather Service said. 

Preliminary storm data from the weather service show reports of flooding from Saturday's rain from Macomb to Washtenaw counties. In west Warren, 3.50 inches of rain fell and in south Warren, 1.89 inches; in Royal Oak, 1.24 inches; in St. Clair Shores, 2.23 inches of rain was reported and Interstate 94 was closed in both directions near 10 Mile and near Martin Road due to flash flooding.

In downtown Detroit, 1.33 inches of rain was recorded, sending city officials out to observe the canal district.

Detroit Chief Operating Officer Hakim Berry said city officials from the water department, public works and Mayor's Office have been out all weekend assessing the flooding in the canal district and placing sand bags in threatened areas. 

"Our first priority is to minimize any health and safety issues by not allowing sewage into basements," Berry said. "Secondly, to minimize property damage and finally to clear the street of any standing water."

Berry said the city's sewer system was  processing more that 2 billion gallons of river water, rain and sewerage a day. "The pumps in the city are working at max capacity," Berry said.

Berry said the city will receive a new shipment of sand bags Monday and will work to stem  the flow of river water into neighborhoods. 

The rainfall follows flooding in early May spurred by record-setting rainfall in April and prompted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to declare a state of emergency for Wayne County. About 3,000 homes, including in Detroit, were damaged by the May flooding and Southfield Freeway was closed in both directions for a day. The Detroit River and Lake St. Clair, whose levels were at 30-year highs, breached seawalls and flood neighborhoods.

Rainfall is helping some of Michigan's Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair to set record highs in June.

Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario set all-time records in June for high water levels since record-keeping began in 1918, according to preliminary data released Tuesday by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

The Corps' monthly bulletin last week found Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair poised to set records for high water levels throughout the year.