Communities come through relatively unscathed by week of wild weather

By TOM TIGANI
and BROOKE STEVENSON

Sunday Times Newspapers

 

Though some residents experiences minor inconveniences because of last week’s heavy rains and high winds, overall Downriver communities weathered the storms well.

 

Melvindale did not experience any basement flooding or downed trees during rains that fell March 7 and Tuesday or the winds of up to 50 mph that followed both downpours. Director of Public Works Eric Witte said minor road flooding caused by roots and debris blocking sewers was the only issue.

 

He said the city installed a 225,000-gallon pump system two years ago that helps to prevent flooding.
“It all goes into the auxiliary tank, which helps with the prevention of flooding in residents’ basements,” Witte said.

 

He added that the tank was empty by Wednesday and sent to Detroit for purification.

 

Clogged catch basins caused some street flooding in Riverview, but they were cleaned out right away, said Director of Public Service Larry Hunter.

 

“We didn’t have any basements flood,” he said. “We’ve been very lucky this year.”

 

Southgate doesn’t have the most technologically efficient equipment, Department of Public Works Director David Weidenbach, said, but a barrel-type container collected 2 inches of rain, which he said officials equate with the effect of a 16-inch snowstorm, depending on the type of snow. Still, he said, the news in his city was mostly good.

 

“We don’t want flooded basements,” Weidenbach said. “That’s our No. 1 prioirity. This one was steady enough where we had no basement flooding that was the fault of main system.”

 

A few houses experienced flooding because of “internal issues,” he said, but “on the whole we were pretty mild.”

 

County drains running through city carrying water from as far away as Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport were full to capacity, as were some open ditches in several parts of the city, but there was “not a lot of water” over streets.

 

“We don’t have any trees down,” said Jean Smith, superintendent of Taylor’s Department of Public Works. Flooding occurred in a few streets, she said, but crews alleviated it quickly simply by uncovering catch basin lids. There was no substantial flooding within the city limits.

 

“We held up real well,” Smith said. “We were very happy.”

 

Damage in Trenton was “minimal,” Department of Public Works officials said. Crews went out to pick up branches following the high winds, but did no cutting of downed trees.

 

Some streets became flooded in Wyandotte because of small branches and leaves that weren’t swept up in the fall, but no basements flooded.

 

“The streets and debris were cleaned up relatively fast,” said Department of Public Service Superintendent Gary Ellison.

 

He said he city experienced some downed limbs, but nothing causing major damage.

 

DTE Energy spokeswoman Eileen Dixon said no power outages were reported in the Downriver area.