With some parts of Michigan expected to see large amounts of heavy rain over the next 24 hours, the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) is encouraging residents and visitors to prepare for possible flooding.
The National Weather Service is forecasting 1 to 4 inches of heavy rain between 2 p.m. today and 7 a.m. Tuesday—with some parts possibly receiving up to 5 inches—in the southern Lower Peninsula. The heaviest rain is expected to affect residents around Interstates 69, 94 and 96, including the cities of Lansing, Grand Rapids, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, Jackson and Battle Creek.
“Flash flooding has the ability to be life-threatening and damaging,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “To be prepared and safe, residents should protect their property against any flooding hazards and double-check to ensure they are covered by insurance. If you must travel, please be careful and do not drive through any flooded road.”
While flooding is most prevalent near low-lying areas and bodies of water, it can occur almost anywhere, including near small streams, creeks and even basements. Flash floods are the No. 1 cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S., according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Preparing for a Flood
- Create an emergency preparedness kit with a 72-hour supply of water, including three gallons per person.
- Put important documents and valuables in a water-proof container on the top floor of your home. Reconsider storing your valuables in the basement.
- 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 drain pipes.
- Double-check sump pumps to ensure they are working properly. If possible, have a battery backup system.
- Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers, and creeks during heavy rainfall. These areas can flood quickly and with little warning.
Driving in a Flood
- Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious. Turn around and don’t drown. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down and 2 feet of water can sweep your vehicle away.
- 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.
In addition to flooding preparedness, residents are encouraged to purchase flood insurance. Homeowners’ or property owners’ insurance does not typically cover flood damage.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) estimates that 90 percent of all natural disasters involve flooding. An inch of water can require a property owner to replace carpet, drywall, floor boards, moldings, doors and other belongings. Additionally, clean-up of mud and residue can be costly, as can repairing any mold and mildew damage that may occur.