Sterling Heights assesses flood damages
By Eric Czarnik
Posted August 26, 2014
STERLING HEIGHTS — The city of Sterling Heights is asking for residents’ help in documenting damage that occurred in the wake of the recent flood that was caused by an estimated 5 inches of rain.
In a summary given at an Aug. 19 City Council meeting, City Manager Mark Vanderpool said the rain, which occurred Aug. 11 over a span of around six hours, caused city officials to start carrying out emergency actions.
According to Vanderpool, the city received 354 reports of moderate to severe flooding in the city by 9 p.m. Police and emergency workers were called to work, and some residents in the Palmer Woods subdivision were evacuated to safety by boat, he said.
“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, better known as NOAA, estimates that the amount of rain was equivalent to a 292-year rain event,” he explained.
Vanderpool said he had no deaths or storm-related injuries to report. He said the city’s tow truck company was deployed, and almost 200 vehicles were removed over a 12-hour period. Private towing companies took care of another 100 vehicles, he said.
Several intersections — such as the one at Schoenherr Road and Metropolitan Parkway, and the one at Hayes and Utica roads — also closed down temporarily, he said.
Vanderpool said some limited flooding was found at City Hall and the Police Department. An engineering team has checked out the city’s bridges but has reported no significant problems, he added.
Vanderpool said he was a little reluctant to estimate total damages since the numbers change daily, but he said the damage to Sterling Heights comes out to just under $62 million so far. He said the city fared better than some of its neighbors.
“We estimate, out of our 40,000 homes, that 4,000 single-family homes had either minor or major damage,” he said. “Royal Oak had 50 percent of their residential homes affected by flooding.”
Vanderpool said about 50 of Sterling Heights’ multifamily homes were hit with flood damage, as well as around 30 businesses including a funeral home. Some parks also flooded.
The city is encouraging homeowners who have suffered flood-derived property damage to go to the city’s website and fill out a report.
Although the report form won’t grant financial aid or reimbursement, it will document the level of damages for the state, which will pass on that information to the federal government for a possible presidential declaration, officials said.
Vanderpool said around 250 residents and also some businesses have filled out an online assessment form that is linked to the city’s website.
Mayor Pro Tem Michael Taylor offered words of thanks to the first responders and Department of Public Works crews who sprang into action in response to the storm.
“If you see them out and about on the streets, make sure you recognize them and let them know what a great job they did this past week,” he said.
Learn more about Sterling Heights by visiting www.sterling-heights.net or by calling (586) 446-2489.
About the author
Staff Writer Eric Czarnik reports on Sterling Heights and Utica Community Schools, and he writes a weekly auto column. He is a Wayne State University graduate who has been employed at C & G Newspapers since 2007.
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