Whitmer declares state of emergency in Wayne Co. flooding

The Detroit News
Detroit city employees Dwight Miles, left, and Myron Quarles remove sandbags off and place them around a residence on Klenk St. to stop canal flooding on Klenk Island, in Detroit.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared a state of emergency for Wayne County following widespread flooding this week.

The declaration Thursday night came just hours after Wayne County Executive Warren Evans declared a county state of emergency and called on Whitmer to do the same on the state level.

Evans said about 3,000 homes in the county, including Detroit, have been damaged by flooding, and local resources were inadequate to deal with it.

The state of emergency issued by Whitmer makes available state resources that will coordinate with local response and recovery efforts. The designation authorizes the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division to coordinate state efforts beyond what those agencies were already doing, according to a news release by the Governor's Office on Thursday night.

“I want to commend the first responders, volunteers and residents who have pulled together to respond to the devastation caused by the damaging rain and flood waters,” said Whitmer. “The state is committed to do all it can to speed the recovery of the affected communities in Wayne County.”    

The deputy state director of the Emergency Management and Homeland Security, and commander of the MSP/EMHSD said staff had been working with county officials since Tuesday, when heavy rainfall caused widespread flooding in Wayne County.

“We will continue to partner with the county to ensure they receive the needed resources to respond and recover from this incident,” said Capt. Emmitt McGowan.

The National Weather Service said about 3.6 inches of rain fell from 12:53 p.m. Tuesday until 3:53 a.m. Wednesday.

The heavy rainfall swamped homes and has closed a stretch of the Southfield Freeway in both directions. A stretch of the freeway remained closed Thursday night.

The weather service said a flood watch remains in effect through Friday morning in a six-county area including Wayne.

Sandbags were being stacked in Detroit’s Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood to curb flooding.