Roseville, Eastpointe weather the storm

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published August 13, 2014

 An intersection in Eastpointe is flooded the night of Aug. 11 following a daylong thunderstorm dumping heavy rains on the city.

An intersection in Eastpointe is flooded the night of Aug. 11 following a daylong thunderstorm dumping heavy rains on the city.

Photo courtesy of the Eastpointe Department of Public Works

An apocalyptic storm front passed through the area Aug. 11, drenching metro Detroit and causing flood problems throughout the region. Local officials say that while Roseville and Eastpointe had problems, both fared better than their neighbors.

Roseville Fire Chief Mike Holland said he heard that about 5.5 inches of rain fell on his city over the course of the day, which, if it were snow, would have been nearly 5 feet deep. In Eastpointe, Department of Public Works Director Mary Van Haaren said that the city received 4.38 inches of rainfall.

Van Haaren said the city’s water systems functioned properly during the storm but were bottlenecked because they were not built to carry that much water at once. This caused water to back up both onto streets and into people’s basements.

“We certainly had our share of problems here in the city,” Van Haaren said. “There was a lot of street flooding and basement flooding.”

Additionally, a tree fell down and caused a power outage to portions of Eastpointe. That, in turn, caused sump pumps in those areas to fail, Van Haaren said.

Aside from Interstate 94 in Roseville between 12 Mile Road and Interstate 696, most of the road flooding was on the west side of the cities. Eastpointe Deputy Police Chief Scott Bourgeois said most of Eastpointe’s road issues were on the west side. 

“I believe (it flooded at) Toepfer and Gratiot,” Bourgeois said. “Most of it was contained on the side streets west of Gratiot closer to the border, like the Beechwood and Nine Mile area.”

He added that Nine Mile Road, Stephens near Hayes, and Toepfer all were blocked off at various points during the day. Crews from the Police Department, DPW, and Fire Department were out to make sure flooded roads were blocked off or cleared out, Van Haaren said.

To the north, Department of Public Services Director Thomas Aiuto said that the city’s pump stations functioned properly, though they still had some flooding problems.

“It was a lot of water real quick,” Aiuto said. “We had streets flooded, and we had some calls of water in basements, but everything worked the way it was supposed to.”

Like Eastpointe, he said that while the whole city had problems, the heaviest hit areas were on the west side of the city. He added that 13 Mile Road, west of Groesbeck, had been closed down due to flooding, and that the area there has low elevation.

Roseville Police Chief James Berlin said all the local roads that were closed in Roseville reopened by 3:30 a.m. Aug. 12 and that they had reports of 50 homes that had flooding in the basements. He said residents “rose to the occasion” and were out helping push cars out of the road and helping people who were stranded.

Residents who want to make a damage claim in Roseville can call the city’s Purchasing Department at (586) 445-5425. In Eastpointe, they can fill out a form that is available both at City Hall and on the city’s website,, though Van Haaren said with city systems operating properly, she did not expect insurance companies would grant the claim.