DETROIT — As the skies around metro Detroit started to darken yet again today and thunder started rumbling, signaling another possible onslaught of rain, metro Detroiters are still struggling to cope with the aftermath of historic rains that flooded thousands of basements and left hundreds of cars stranded across area freeways on Monday.
Commuters are being urged to stay off the roads, with standing water in spots on virtually every area interstate. Michigan State Police divers searched for submerged vehicles this morning on I-696 near Dequindre and other flooded viaducts. On Stephenson Highway near I-696, heavy rains washed a wall of mud onto a southbound I-75 exit ramp, swamping a dump truck and a car.
"We've got a lot going on. It's not just the water on the roads. We can't clean up the roads, we've got to get the cars off the roads," said Michigan Department of Transportation spokeswoman Diane Cross said.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is planning to visit the Detroit area Tuesday to survey the damage. According to FEMA Chicago, at this time, there have been no requests for federal assistance, but the agency has sent a liaison to the state's emergency response center to help with technical issues.
Meanwhile, more rain is expected, with scattered showers in the forecast, according to National Weather Service in White Lake Township.
Monday was the second-heaviest single day rainfall in Michigan history, with 4.57 inches recorded at Detroit Metro Airport, said Dan Thompson of the White Lake Township office of the National Weather Service. The record is 4.74 on July 31, 1925.
"We will see scattered showers throughout the morning and afternoon today," he said, "but it won't be anything near yesterday's totals. Expect a few pop-up showers over the morning hours and into the afternoon."
No potentially severe weather is expected, he said. The high temperature will be in the mid-70s, with tonight's low in the upper 50s.
In addition to flooded basements, some area residents are dealing with power outages. DTE Energy reports about 16,000 customers without power as of noon in its service area, down from about 23,000 Monday night.
A total of 32,000 customers lost power during the course of the storm and its aftermath, Donerson said.
The outages are scattered, but there are pockets in Detroit, Dearborn, Southgate, Farmington and Northville, according to Erica Donerson, a DTE Energy spokeswoman.
It's unclear when those customers would have their power restored.
"Crews are having challenges traveling to areas to make repairs," Donerson said.
Consumers Energy spokeswoman Debra Dodd said the company had no major natural gas interruptions because of the storms and flooding, noting that DTE provides most electric service in the Detroit area.
Consumers Energy issued a news release today advising home and business owners with appliances affected by the storms, such as furnaces, clothes dryers and hot water heaters, to have them inspected by a qualified contractor before attempting to restart or use them.
The company also noted that the storms would have some affect on the company's routine business.
"Natural gas customers living in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties who have non-essential natural gas service requests, such as turn-ons for new homes, etc. are asked to wait 24 hours until Wed., Aug. 13 to schedule this type of work so emergency calls associated with the flooding can be addressed," the release said
Requests to shut off gas to homes and businesses should be made to 800-477-5050, the company said.
It was not immediately clear how many Consumers customers had experienced outages as a result of the storms.
Water soaked couches, electronics, and pictures of family memories sit ruined in basement of homes. Items, like carpet, furniture and blankets are out on curbs. And abandoned cars— that couldn't make it through flooded streets Monday— remain in the roads today as the damage caused by water Monday becomes clearer.
Debra Furmaniak, 29, and her husband Brian Furmaniak, 31, returned to their Royal Oak home on North Vermont, near I-75 and 11 Mile, around 8 p.m. Monday. The water was already up to the second step in their finished basement.
"We stared down there for a second like 'what do we do? '" said Debra Furmaniak.
Water had to be pumped out — like many others in the area, and the couple spent the morning ripping out carpet and trying to salvage what has not been destroyed.
Figuring out how to proceed is complicated because they haven't heard back from a restoration company and insurance companies are inundated with calls from people in similar situations.
"All this paneling has to come out," Brian Furmaniak said pointing to the wall by the pool table.
He knows insurance won't cover it all and estimates they are in the hole at least $10,000.