Whitmer Declares State of Emergency for Wayne County Due to flooding

Michigan

In a photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivers her virtual State of the State address the state, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021 in Lansing, Mich. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP)

WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS)– On Saturday Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an order declaring a state of emergency in Wayne County to help address threats to public health and safety related to heavy rainfall, which resulted in widespread flooding, power outages, flooded roadways, stranded motorists, flooding of homes, and displaced residents. 

“We are continuing to work closely with emergency response coordinators and local leaders across the state to address widespread flooding,” said Governor Whitmer. “The State Emergency Operations Center has been activated to coordinate our state’s response as we rush resources to affected areas, and the state of emergency declaration will help counties access even greater assistance. I want to thank everyone who has been working 24/7 to clear roadways, restore power and communications, provide emergency services, and make sure our neighbors have what they need to get through this storm. We’ve overcome tremendous challenges this year because Michiganders are a tough people who know that we are all in this together.” 

The declaration authorizes the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) to coordinate state efforts above and beyond what MSP/EMHSD has already been doing in conjunction with local agencies. 

“Our staff have been working closely with Wayne County officials since the flooding began,” said Capt. Kevin Sweeney, deputy state director of Emergency Management and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “We will continue to partner with the county and make certain all needs are being met as the community recovers.” 

In addition to the emergency declaration, Gov. Whitmer has activated the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) today due to flooding and severe weather in Southeast Michigan. 

The SEOC was activated as of 11:00 a.m., according to the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD). SEOC personnel are monitoring the situation and working with state and local officials as well as private sector partners to ensure any resource needs are met. EMHSD district coordinators are on scene with local emergency management officials and supporting local emergency operation centers. 

Terms to Know 

  • Flash Flood Warning: Take Action! A Flash Flood Warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring. If you are in a flood prone area move immediately to high ground. A flash flood is a sudden violent flood that can take from minutes to hours to develop. It is even possible to experience a flash flood in areas not immediately receiving rain. 
  • Flood Warning: Take Action! A Flood Warning is issued when the hazardous weather event is imminent or already happening. A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring. 
  • Flood Watch: Be Prepared: A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for a specific hazardous weather event to occur. A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible. 
  • Flood Advisory: Be Aware: A Flood Advisory is issued when a specific weather event that is forecast to occur may become a nuisance. A Flood Advisory is issued when flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. However, it may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, it could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property. 

Preparing for a Flood 

  • Create an emergency preparedness kit with a 72-hour supply of water, including three gallons per person. 
  • Scan and store important documents on an online, cloud-based program. 
  • Put important documents and valuables in a water-proof container on the top floor of your home. 
  • Understand how to safely turn off electricity and gas lines in your home. 
  • Create an inventory of your household items and take photos of the interior and exterior of your home. 
  • Consider installing sewer backflow valves to prevent flood water from backing up into your home through drainpipes. 
  • Double-check sump pumps to ensure they are working properly. If possible, have a battery backup system. 
  • Keep materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber handy for emergency waterproofing. 
  • Find out how many feet your property is above and below possible flood levels. When predicted flood levels are broadcast, you can determine if you may be flooded. 
  • Rise or flood-proof heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment by elevating equipment above areas prone to flooding. Another method is to leave equipment where it is and build a concrete or masonry block flood wall around it. 
  • Anchor fuel tanks. Unanchored fuel tanks can be easily moved by floodwaters. 

During a Flood 

  • Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Disconnect all electrical equipment. 
  • Do not walk-through moving water. Six inches is enough water to knock you down. 
  • Do not drive in flooded areas. Six inches of water can cause you to lose control and two feet of water can sweep away your car. Remember: Turn around, don’t drown. 
  • Listen to local media reports for information about if the water supply is safe to drink. 
  • Avoid contacting flood waters because they can be contaminated by hazardous liquids and may contain sharp debris. 
  • Report and stay 25 feet away from downed power lines. 

Driving in Flood Conditions 

  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling. A foot of water will float many vehicles. 
  • Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickups trucks. 
  • Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious. The road bed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped. 
  • Do not drive around a barricade. Barricades are there for your protection. Turn around and go the other way. 
  • Do not try to take short cuts—they may be blocked. Stick to designated routes. 
  • Be especially cautious driving at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers. 

Emergency or Disaster Information 

The public is encouraged to monitor local news media for up-to-date weather reports and emergency information. To learn what to do before, during and after an emergency or disaster, visit us on Twitter at @MichEMHS or www.michigan.gov/MIREADY

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