Southeast Michigan braces for possible flooding as heavy rainfall hits area

Posted at 6:34 PM, Jul 09, 2024

DEARBORN, Mich. (WXYZ) — Whenever a major storm approaches Southeast Michigan, folks living in parts of Dearborn, Dearborn Heights and the Downriver areas, among other communities within metro Detroit, are always worried about flooding due to the heavy rain.

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"I think it's an issue in many areas, you just need to spend money on the infrastructure," said Michael Pinckes, a lifelong Dearborn resident.

Pinckes says his home has never flooded but has seen some areas severely affected.

"East of Southfield Freeway that's always been the worst, west Dearborn sits a little higher," said Pinckes.

Great Lakes Water Authority's Navid Mehram says for him and his team, its all hands on deck.

"The volumes of water that's anticipated is pretty excessive for the system so there is a heightened level of risk for the potential of exceeding the system's capacity," said Navid Mehram, Chief Operating Officer, Waste Water Operations, Great Lakes Water Authority

"What's the biggest concern right now?" asked Faraz Javed 7 News Detroit reporter.

"If the forecast comes we believe that is going to be a precipitation of large volume but not as much as intensity but if we have these large bursts of rain during this event that could potentially stress the system," said Mehram.

Londa Nixon works in Dearborn but has been living on Detroit's west side her whole life.

"How bad is that area, when it comes to flooding?" asked Javed.

"Real bad. We don't have any power," said Nixon.

Over the years, Nixon says her house has flooded three times. As for damages, Londa had to replace a deep freezer, washer, dryer and even had to redo the floor and walls.

"The lack of electricity was the biggest issue for me. Because I couldn't use the generator, I had to get the water out of the basement," said Nixon.

"So you are aware of what Southeast Michigan is about to get tonight, correct?" asked Javed.

"Yes. My kids called me from Texas and told me about it," said Nixon.

"They are impacted over there?" asked Javed.

"It's really bad over there right now," said Nixon.

Nixon shared this video, showing what her two sons, Jahir and Ronald, are dealing with. We FaceTimed with Ronald's wife, Darnesha.

"They are still shaken up from yesterday. It's their first time experiencing something like that," said Darnesha.

"Walk me through the chaos," said Javed.

"Everything was pretty much flooded. My car got flooded with my children, so we had to hurry up and get out of the car. The roads are blocked, and the trees are down," said Darnesha.

"I'm so sorry to hear that. What kind of advice are you sharing with your mother-in-law?" asked Javed.

"If you don't have to go outside, don't," said Darnesha.

Meanwhile, Dearborn Public Service's James Foss says the city will monitor the storm closely.

"As you go further west when they receive the rain, it impacts the river coming this way. As the river level rises, there is less room for our water to enter. The intensity of the rain will be critical," said James Foss, Administrator of Dearborn Public Service.

But James says the city of Dearborn is prepared for the storm.

"We have a fully staffed sewage department that is ready for any plugs or backups, the lift stations and pumping stations are all running at 100% all the pumps are running at 100%," said Foss.

Mehram says GLWA is also deploying an additional 100 workers to respond to emergencies.

"We have prepared by one, having a protocol in place to relieve the system as soon as possible. The second is that we staff our facilities with experienced individuals at critical locations. Finally, we are having a coordination call with all our member partners to ensure that we are coordinated and ready for the storm," said Mehram.

"What is your message for folks?" asked Javed.

"I would ask people to be conscious of the wet weather that's coming. To try to stock up on non-perishable food, make sure all their electronics, like flashlights, are ready just in case we have power. And just in case, remove any valuables from the basement," said Foss.

While Londa has made all the preparations for tonight, this mother is more concerned about her kids and their family in Houston.

"I just wish they here, with me or I was with them there, so we can comfort each other or something like that," said Nixon.

Now, in the event your basement floods, James and Navid recommend minimizing contact with the water due to the possibility of it being contaminated or the water coming in contact with any electric outlets. The goal is to notify the police and fire departments right away and follow GLWA's social media accounts for updates: