The Detroit Flood of June 2021

Detroit Flood by Camera Jesus

Detroit Flood by Camera Jesus

On Friday night as much as 7″ of rain fell in the city of Detroit creating a truly nightmarish situation as the New York Times reports:

Up to seven inches of rain fell early on Saturday in parts of Detroit and Wayne County, Mich., stranding hundreds of vehicles on flooded freeways and prompting the rescue of about 50 drivers, officials said.

“This isn’t normal here,” said Lt. Michael Shaw, a spokesman for the Michigan State Police. “Every freeway in the county had some level of flooding.”

By 3 p.m. Saturday, the authorities counted about 350 vehicles that had been damaged in the flooding.

“Some suffered some type of wire damage, some had water up to the top of their tires, some had it up to windows, and some were completely submerged,” Lieutenant Shaw said. “A lot of people thought they could make it through the water, but there was just no way.”

You can see some shots reader-submitted shots from across the city at Click on Detroit.

The photo was taken Saturday on I-94 aka the Edsel Ford Freeway by Joe Gall aka Camera Jesus. Click the pic for several more shots, follow him @camera_jesus on Instagram & for sure check out his website to view and purchase his work!

More Michigan flooding including the Detroit Flood of 2014 on Michigan in Pictures.

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Top Michigan in Pictures photos of 2020

2020 Flooding in Midland MIchigan by City of Midland

2020 Flooding in Midland Michigan by City of Midland

“While the 1986 flood was a 100-year flood, what we’re looking at here is an event that is the equivalent of a 500-year flood. It’s something that is extremely rare, extremely catastrophic and quite dangerous.”
– Midland City Manager Brad Kaye

Our top post of 2020 was about the most significant natural disaster of the year, the catastrophic flooding of Midland on May 19th has more information and a video. Check our Facebook post as well for more photos & links in the comments.

Ship's Bell by Bill

Ring the Bell for the Fitz

We featured the bell from the SS Edmund Fitzgerald November 10th, the 45th anniversary. Click for a super cool video & more photos from Bill.

American White Pelicans on Lake Huron by kare hav

American White Pelicans expanding Michigan range

These American White Pelicans on Lake Huron by kare hav were the perfect photo for a story from the Great Lakes Echo about how these birds we associate with the tropics are becoming a more common sight.

Peaceful Moment at Lake Superior near Munising by Michigan Nut Photography

A Peaceful Moment on Lake Superior

Perennial Michpics favorite John McCormick aka Michigan Nut shared just how calm & amazing Lake Superior can be at times.

View it bigger right here.

Sunday Night on Lavender Hill

Gary Ennis’s incredible shot of Lavender Hill near Boyne City took many people’s breath away. Click to see it bigger!

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Dam Shame: Michigan’s aging dams put thousands at risk

Rusty Dam and Spillway on the Huron River by Ann

Rusty Dam and Spillway on the Huron River by Ann

The New York Times notes that although no one died in last week’s flooding of Midland due to dam failures, thousands were evacuated, homes and businesses were inundated, and floodwaters spilled into a chemical plant and Superfund site. They continue that little has been done to address the looming national hazard of aging dams like those that failed in Michigan.

In November 2019, The Associated Press reported that 19 dams in Michigan, including the first of the dams to breach, were in unsatisfactory condition and presented high hazards, meaning their failure can cause loss of life. The events of last week should not have come as a surprise, and it is only a matter of time before a catastrophic dam collapse will occur somewhere in the United States. The combination of aging and poorly maintained dams and extreme, climate-caused flooding presents potentially deadly risks for people downstream.

…In Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said experts characterized the flooding that led to the recent dam failures as a 500-year event — something that would have a one in 500 chance of occurring in any given year. If we consider dams in the eight-state Great Lakes region older than 60 years (most have a design life of 50 years) that are in counties with a population larger than 500,000, 317 dams are classified as having a high potential for hazard in a failure. The chances of one or more of these dams experiencing a 500- or 1,000-year flooding event in a year would be 47 percent and 27 percent — which strikes us as pretty high.

The Great Lakes region exhibits approximately 10-year cycles of rainfall and is currently near record high levels. Extreme rainfalls are happening much more frequently in the region than in the past 100 years. What is being done to prepare for potential flooding and dam failures?

The state and the federal government have multiple offices that assess dam safety. What we lack is an overall strategy to fix the problem and the requisite financial resources. Rehabilitating dams with high hazard potential will cost an estimated $3 billion for federal impoundments and another $19 billion for nonfederal ones — a cost that vastly exceeds current spending.

We need a real plan and real money, and we need them soon.

Read on for more in the NYT & head over to Bridge Magazine for an in-depth exploration of the 2020 Midland flooding.

Ann took this back in 2011. View more in her Flickr.

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Midland waters receding but still very high

Kayaking During The Flood by Charles Bonham

Kayaking During The Flood by Charles Bonham

mLive has some positive news in the catastrophic Midland flood of 2020, reporting that Midland officials say the river will crest 3 feet lower than expected:

Officials stressed that although the water is receding, it will take several days and residents should remain vigilant. It’s possible “we won’t even hit the 24-foot flood stage until the end of the weekend or later during Memorial Day,” Bone said.

“It’s essentially a mess out there and it isn’t safe to drive around barriers or travel on the roads that are deemed closed,” he added. “Everybody please stay safe and do your best out there and we’ll get through this.”

Kaye said things have changed quickly since officials last addressed reporters Wednesday afternoon, when they were predicting the river to crest at 38 feet at about 8 p.m. Soon after, an updated forecast moved the flood peak back by about three feet and about four to five hours.

“At this point in time, by all models, by all indications, at least, we’re cautiously optimistic that we’ve crested…we’ve kind of plateaued right now, but we will start the descent as water starts to recede,” Kaye said. “That’s great news for the county, for the city, certainly for the residents and business owners that are in the affected areas.”

More from mLive & also check out their comprehensive timeline of the flooding. Check yesterday’s Michigan in Pictures post on Facebook for more photos of the devastation in the comments. Stay safe, Midlanders & everyone!

Thanks to Charles for this shot & see more photos including this view down Ashman Street on his Flickr!

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Midland Under Water: Record Flooding in May 2020

2020 Flooding in Midland MIchigan by City of Midland

2020 Flooding in Midland by City of Midland

“While the 1986 flood was a 100-year flood, what we’re looking at here is an event that is the equivalent of a 500-year flood. It’s something that is extremely rare, extremely catastrophic and quite dangerous.”
– Midland City Manager Brad Kaye

The Detroit Free Press reports that by the time you’re reading this, downtown Midland could be under 9 feet of water as the result of two dam breaches on the Tittabawasee River:

Urging residents to evacuate and saying downtown Midland could be under 9 feet of water by Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer late Tuesday declared a state of emergency for Midland County after the Edenville and Sanford dams breached.

Speaking during a press conference late Tuesday, Whitmer said parts of the city of Midland, the village of Sanford, Edenville Township and Dow Chemical had been or were being evacuated. She said officials were working to evacuate residents in Tittabawassee, Thomas and Saginaw townships on Tuesday evening.

…Whitmer said at a 10 p.m. briefing Tuesday that state officials expected the worst over the next 12-15 hours with as much as 9 feet of water in downtown Midland, the largest city in the area with about 40,000 residents and the home to Dow Chemical.

“This is unlike anything we’ve seen before… but this is truly a historic event that’s playing out in the midst of another historic event,” Whitmer said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic which has led to stay-at-home orders throughout the state and the deaths of more than 5,000 people.

Several dams upstream of Midland along the Tittabawassee had either been breached or were releasing water uncontrollably after 4 to 7 inches of rain fell Sunday and Monday, including the Edenville and Sanford dams on Tuesday, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people in mid-Michigan.

Read on for much more in the Freep & you can also tune in for a live Facebook update from the city later today. Here’s some photos & a drone video of the flooding via mLive:

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The Detroit Flood of 2014


Untitled, photo by Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division

On Monday, the city of Detroit was hit with over 4.5″ of rain, the second highest one-day total following 4.7″ on July 31, 1925. The rain hit during the afternoon rush hour and submerged freeways and neighborhoods.

There’s some photos and video from mLive, some pics from Twitter and Instagram put together by Oliver Darcy and more in this Huffington Post feature on the flooding with a bunch of photos and a few videos.

View this photo background big and see more in the State Police slideshow of the flooding.

More floods on Michigan in Pictures.

Grand Rapids Flood of April 2013


Waterwindows, photo by Canon Screwdriver (gary syrba)

This mLive article on the historic Grand River flooding in Grand Rapids explains that April 2013 is now the third wettest month on record for the city:

Evan Webb with the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids said 10.57 inches of rain had fallen in the city this month as of 8 a.m. Wednesday, its wettest month in 17 years. That should come as no surprise to West Michigan, which saw weeks of heavy rainfall caused widespread flooding and led the Grand River to crest at record levels.

Grand Rapids already had shattered its longstanding April rainfall record, but just crept into the top three wettest of any month of the year.

The No. 1 spot goes to June 1892, when 13.22 inches of rain fell. Second place belongs to September 1986, when 11.85 inches doused the city.

Webb said it is possible Grand Rapids could see enough rain to put it in the No. 2 spot, but it is unlikely with only a week and a half left in the month.

mLive also has some crazy pictures of the flooding including some great aerial photos and a timeline of the flooding.

View Gary’s photo on black and see more in his Water, water, everywhere … but not a drop to drink slideshow. He writes:

All the rain we have had, and the heavy winter added to the water levels a bit around here. The floods are near records. The Grand River, which goes through the heart of the city and ends at Lake Michigan hits the flood limit at 18′. We went 3 1/2 feet over that. Many buildings flooded, many roads were covered for days, and many, many basements flooded. Our sump pump has been running non-stop for two weeks. We have been lucky… we only had about 20 gallons of water that got into the basement… though the sump pump has siphoned thousands of gallons from around our house. Many neighbors had a few inches of water in their basements. A lot of homes have dumpsters in the driveway. Pretty sad. Still… the crowds downtown looking at the floods and taking photos are amazing. People are everywhere, and most are fine.

You might also be interested in the Great Michigan Flood of 1908.