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flood

Ben Thorp

Nearly two months after a dam break and devastating flood buried the village of Sanford in water and mud, residents are doing their best to rebuild.

The streets are no longer covered in muck leftover from when the Sanford Lake emptied itself over the town. Instead, you can hear the sound of construction and the hum of generators.

Roger and Pam Riggie are the owners of Sanford Pizza. Standing outside their pizzeria, Pam peered through a broken window and described what she saw.

“Disaster and heartbreak,” she said. “But progress all at the same time.”

Clinton Snider / clintonsnider.com

Michigan’s Attorney General filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the owner of the two dams that failed last month causing historic floods.

On May 19, the Edenville dam failed after days of heavy rain. Torrents of water rushed downstream, overwhelming the Sanford dam and forcing thousands to evacuate.

State of Michigan

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer plans to ask for a federal disaster declaration for parts of Michigan hard hit by flooding last month.

Heavy rains flooded towns and overflowed dams in parts of mid-Michigan, including Midland and Gladwin Counties. Thousands were forced to evacuate their homes as the Tittabawassee River rose to a record height. Weeks later, many people are still cleaning and repairing their homes and businesses. 

wikimedia commons

In Gladwin County, restaurants can open for dine-in service.

Since March, the governor’s executive orders intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 prevented Michigan restaurants from offering dine-in service.

But severe flooding this month is opening the doors to restaurants in Gladwin County.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A dwindling number of people remain in flood evacuation centers in Midland County.

Thousands of Midland county residents were ordered to evacuate their homes after a pair of dams failed after days of heavy rain earlier this week. Many are still waiting for the waters to recede. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The flooding in Midland is raising concerns about re-suspending old pollution that’s caused problems along the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers for decades.

A more than 50 mile stretch of the rivers was contaminated by dioxin from past activity at the Dow chemical complex. A decades-long fight between Dow and regulators was finally settled with a plan to cap the river bottom and clean up properties along the river.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A northern Michigan county is asking Governor Gretchen Whitmer to declare a state of emergency in the wake of heavy rain and flooding this week.

Parts of Arenac County were inundated with more than eight inches of rain Sunday through Monday.

Ed Rohn is the Arenac & Iosco County Emergency Management Director. He says the result of the heavy rains of the past few days is millions of dollars in damage, beyond what the county saw in 2017.

Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Michiganders hard hit by heavy flooding in February are getting some help.

Gov. Snyder declared a state of disaster for 17 counties and two cities after heavy rainfall and snowmelt resulted in widespread flooding damage.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved the state’s request for a physical and economic disaster declaration for four Michigan counties.

A street pole in the middle of flood water
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Lansing is one of several cities throughout the state dealing with flooding.

Mayor Andy Schor declared a state of emergency Wednesday. Several streets are still blocked off, making it tougher to navigate sections of the city.

John Estill lives right along the Grand River. Flood water covers his entire backyard and has made its way to his basement.

“We’ve got sandbags around the outside of the house, but it’s still seeping in, and we’re trying to keep ahead of it with pumps,” Estill said.

Estill says the drywall in his basement took the most damage.

flooded fields
Michigan Agribusiness Association

Farmers and ranchers in 14 Michigan counties are eligible for emergency loans due to widespread damage amid severe storms and flash flooding in June.

The update from the U.S. Department of Agriculture comes after President Donald Trump last week made a disaster declaration for four Michigan counties.

Michigan Agribusiness Association

Local communities in four Michigan counties hard hit by flooding last month are getting some help from the state.

In late June, more than seven inches of rain fell on parts of Bay, Gladwin, Midland and Isabella Counties last month, causing widespread floods. In many cases, damage to roads and other infrastructure has overwhelmed local resources.

Now local governments can apply for up to $100,000 from the state Disaster and Emergency Contingency Fund.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has eight teams surveying damage in four mid-Michigan counties hard hit by flooding last month.  

The FEMA assessment will play a large role in the state’s expected request for federal disaster relief.

Michigan Agri-Business Association

Michigan agri-business leaders say recent floods have devastated farm fields and heavily damaged rural infrastructure in several mid-Michigan counties.

More than seven inches of rain fell on parts of mid-Michigan last Thursday. Water inundated farmers’ fields. Dry beans appear to be the hardest hit crop, with about 10% of the crop lost, according to state agriculture industry officials.

Jim Byrum is the president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

FEMA will soon take part in a joint preliminary damage assessment of four Michigan counties hard hit by flooding this month.

Gov. Rick Snyder asked federal disaster officials to assist with a review of damage and response costs to flooding in Bay, Gladwin, Isabella and Midland counties.

Gov. Rick Snyder exits a Michigan State Police helicopter after a tour of flooded parts of Isabella and Midland counties.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Snyder says it’s important for Michiganders to “rally together” in the wake of flooding in Isabella and Midland counties.

More than seven inches of rain Thursday caused rivers to burst from their banks, inundate neighborhoods and wash out roads.

This morning, the governor spent time inspecting the flood damage on the ground and from the air. Snyder saw many parts of the region are still underwater.

A car sits in the flooded parking lot of Midland's downtown farmers' market.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

As floodwaters begin to recede, government officials are assessing the damage in Midland and Isabella counties. 

Storms dumped more than seven inches of rain on parts of mid-Michigan last week, flooding homes and washing out roads.

“In Midland County alone, there’s been 116 roads affected,” says Mark Bone, president of the Midland County Board of Commissioners. “There’s a lot of roads out there we’re still gathering the information, but there’s a lot of damage.”

Getting to work or school is going to be a problem in the areas affected by the flooding.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Next week’s thaw is not expected to result in flooding in Michigan. 

Forecasters predict temperatures to rise into the 40s next week. 

“With the semi-warm temperatures and the cool nights, it doesn’t look like we’re going to see significant flooding across the state of Michigan,” says Michigan State Police spokesman Ron Leix. “Our flood risk is really low this year.”

Michigan State Police

DETROIT (AP) - A newspaper says nearly 10 billion gallons of sewer overflows were released into rivers and lakes in southeastern Michigan after a tremendous August storm.

  The Detroit Free Press says the number comes from reports to state regulators. The waste came from sanitary sewers that couldn't handle the rain and systems that combine stormwater and sewage.

  Untreated waste carries contaminants that can spoil Lake St. Clair beaches in Macomb County and put drinking water at risk. The Free Press says 10 billion gallons would equal about 20 million 50-gallon baths.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

By this time next year, state officials hope to be ready to move into a new $22 million center to manage Michigan’s future emergencies.   

Ground was broken yesterday for the new State Emergency Operations Center. The center will serve as a command center to coordinate various local, state and federal agencies at times of emergency.

The old center has been activated several times in the past 12 months to coordinate the state response to floods, ice storms, and other natural disasters.

Michigan State Police

DETROIT – The U.S. Small Business Administration says it's making low-interest disaster loans available to home and business owners in Detroit-area counties that suffered massive flooding last month.

The Friday announcement followed President Barack Obama issuing a federal disaster declaration the day before. That action makes available funding to those affected in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.

The Home Depot in Madison Heights, for instance, has a "flood recovery zone" set up inside the store's entrance. Things like drywall, paint, cleaning supplies, dehumidifiers, and appliances are flying off the shelves.

Morguefile

LANSING – State officials say billions of gallons of raw and partially treated sewage were dumped in Detroit area rivers and streams after flooding from heavy rains earlier this month.

Department of Environmental Quality spokeswoman Laura Verona tells The Detroit News for a story Friday that about 46% of the nearly 10 billion gallons of sewage released Aug. 11 by water treatment facilities was raw, diluted or partially treated sewage.

The state agency has put together a preliminary report on the sewage release.

Combined sewers and retention basins in some communities in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties overflowed due to the Aug. 11 storm. Some areas received more than 6 inches of rain. Water from the storm left parts of freeways flooded and damaged thousands of homes.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder says massive flooding this week in and around Detroit reinforces the need to boost state spending on roads. Snyder says Michigan’s crumbling infrastructure may have played a role in the floods, although it’s too early to tell for sure.

“I don’t want to be premature, but you would imagine it would have some consequences in terms of magnifying the effect on the freeway flooding,” Snyder told reporters as he surveyed damage at homes and schools in Royal Oak on Friday. “That wouldn’t have affected the homes, but in terms of the freeway challenges.”

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) - Officials in Oakland County have estimated flood damage from Monday's rain storm at $337 million, but warn the amount could increase as more assessments are received.

Communities in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties are trying to determine how much the final costs will be after more than 6 inches of rain fell in some areas.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson says Friday that "the damage estimate does not reflect the magnitude of the task that lies ahead" for residents.

Last winter was the snowiest and one of the coldest ever in Metropolitan Detroit. Three days ago, the area was hit by an absolutely devastating rainstorm and the following floods.

We don’t know if these events were influenced by climate change. We do know that the infrastructure, from freeway ramps to storm drains, wasn’t adequate to deal with the problems.

Our roads were in urgent need of investment before this happened, and many are in worse shape now. For years, we’ve known that the water infrastructure in southeast Michigan was in need of major upgrading.

But we haven’t done any of it.  

This week in Michigan politics: water, wolves and schools

Aug 13, 2014
satellite map of Michigan, the Great Lakes
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

This Week in Michigan Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss how flooding in Detroit will impact infrastructure, how the Senate might vote on legislation to allow wolf hunting in Michigan, and what the state is doing to make sure charter schools are up to snuff.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder says numerous state agencies are helping Detroit and surrounding communities deal with massive floods.

Snyder flew to Metro Detroit to survey the damage himself.

Snyder flew back from a trip to the Upper Peninsula to see the flood damage firsthand from a Michigan State Police helicopter. Many freeways and major roads were closed in Metro Detroit; some sections of roads were swept away in flood waters.

Snyder there’s only so much public officials can do to prevent that kind of damage.

via buildingdetroit.org

  First the flood waters, now the concern is about mold.

Many southeast Michigan basements flooded on Monday.

George Miller is the director of Oakland County’s Department of Health and Human Services. He says to avoid mold, homeowners should remove everything damaged by water from their flooded basement.

“The biggest thing is, the faster you can get the water out of your basement and start to dry it out, the less chance you’re going to have for the mold that everybody’s concerned with,” says Miller.

MDOT

Monday’s floods may have caused serious damage to Michigan’s busiest highway interchange.

Diane Cross is a Michigan Department of Transportation spokeswoman. She says there are concerns about safety of the I-75 road surface at I-696.

“It looks like the road is fine,” says Cross, “but you can see where the substructure has already eroded away. We’re not sure it can hold any weight.”

Cross says it may take a few days to return the interchange to service, but it could be a week or longer, depending on the extent of the damage.

The Detroit automakers are moving into their fifth year of recovery after the disastrous bottoming-out of 2009 when General Motors and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy. Half a decade later, however, sales are brisk and auto loans are available. But is the future that bright? On today's show: Are there warning signs of another auto downturn? And, if so, what needs to happen to stop it?

Then, what will our rivers and roads look like once spring hits and the snow melts? We spoke with meteorologist Jim Maczko to find out.

Lake Erie is full of blooms of cyanobacteria (sometimes referred to as blue-green algae) and dead zones, and a new report is asking us to take action. What can be done to improve the health of this lake?

Also, how about adding smell to food advertising? 

First on the show, are Michigan veterans getting what they deserve in terms of benefits and support?

The Veterans' Administration says when it comes to per-capita spending on veterans, Michigan checks in at an average of just over $3,400 per vet. The national average is over $4,800. That places Michigan last in the nation.

What is the state doing about this and to make sure that veterans get all the benefits to which they're entitled?

The director of Michigan's Veterans Affairs Agency, Jeff Barnes, joined us today.

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