Flooding, debris keep I-94 closed in Dearborn and Detroit
Interstate 94 in Dearborn and Detroit remains closed Monday morning after widespread rainfall this weekend.
The Michigan Department of Transportation late Sunday issued a notice saying I-94, the last freeway still shuttered after storms Friday and Saturday overwhelmed pump stations, was closed in Dearborn and Detroit between Greenfield and Interstate 75.
"While temporary generators are working at three of the pump houses on I-94, the water flows back onto the freeway as the local creeks and rivers are cresting and there is nowhere for additional water to go," MDOT said in a statement.
MDOT cameras Monday morning revealed lower water levels along the highway, though I-94 at Lonyo remained water covered at mid-morning with personnel towing vehicles.
Spokeswoman Diane Cross said the freeway is beginning to dry up because the rain has stayed away and the water levels of the creeks and rivers that take in the interstate's storm water have fallen.
"Since we didn't get much more rain, the local rivers and creeks are starting to subside a little bit and that has helped by giving us a place to send the water," she said. "The Ecorse Creek and the lower Rouge River just couldn't take any more water, but now they've subsided a little, we're able to pump more water off."
Cross said the process to get the freeway reopened has multiple steps and will take some time. She also said it won't be done all at once, but in sections of I-94.
"As the water starts to recede on the freeway, we have to get all of the stranded vehicles towed and we have to get all of the debris cleaned up," she said. There were more than two dozen vehicles that had to be towed by Michigan State Police in most recent section to be cleared, Cross said.
"Then we'll have to have the roadway inspected because that water has been sitting there (since Friday night) and we have to see if there's been any damage," she said. " They'll have to determine whether any repairs will have to be made before it opens."
Currently, eastbound I-94 is closed between Greenfield and West Grand Boulevard on the Dearborn-Detroit border and westbound I-94 is closed from Interstate 96 to Greenfield, she said.
Michigan State Police tweeted Sunday that drivers who abandoned cars along the freeway can call the Metro South Post at (734) 287-5000 for help locating their vehicle.
The risk for heavy rain continues Monday and Tuesday.
The weather service on Sunday issued a flood warning from Monday afternoon to Thursday morning for the Grand River near Comstock in west Michigan. The river was at 10,8 feet; flood stage is 12 feet and the river was expected to rise about that late Monday evening and crest at 12.4 feet Tuesday evening, the weather service said. Minor flooding was expected.
Meanwhile, a hazardous weather outlook is in effect for much of lower Michigan. Scattered storms are expected, especially south of Interstate 96 and flooding could occur near rivers and smaller creeks and streams as runoff continued from the earlier storms.
Rainfall up to 6.5 inches Friday night into Saturday in Metro Detroit overwhelmed the city of Detroit's water and sewage operations leading to widespread flooding. Abandoned vehicles littered the freeways, homes and businesses flooded, and thousands were without power. No fatalities or injuries have been reported from the flooding, according to Michigan State Police.
"Any extra additional rainfall will likely make any current flooding that is happening worse," said Megan Varcie, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in White Lake Township.
"It's hard to determine where they will be just because the thunderstorms can develop anywhere across southeast Michigan," Varcie said. "All we can expect is some thunderstorm activity that is localized and where heavier amounts will be."
That includes more powerful wind gusts than earlier this weekend that could go up to 60 miles per hour, Varcie said.
Monday morning, more than 17,000 DTE Energy Co. customers were without power, including in Dearborn, Detroit and Downriver, according to the company's outage map. CMS Energy Co.'s Consumers Energy reported outages affecting about 1,000 people.
That included the branch office for the Secretary of State in Dearborn.
Staff reporter Charles E. Ramirez contributed.