Lt. Gov. Calley declares state of disaster after heavy rains

Posted at 11:55 PM, Jun 23, 2017

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (AP) — Lt. Gov. Brian Calley declared a state of disaster in two mid-Michigan counties Friday after heavy rains overnight led to what he said was "extraordinary flooding and resulting damage."

The declaration made state resources, including Michigan State Police, available to help local response and recovery efforts in Isabella and Midland counties, where authorities said hundreds of homes, businesses and other structures have been affected by flooding.

County officials declared a state of emergency earlier Friday in Isabella County, as helicopters and unmanned drones took to the air to assess damage, the Morning Sun in Mount Pleasant reported.

Authorities in other parts of Michigan warned people about unnecessary travel due to flooded roads and streets. State officials also activated Michigan's Emergency Operations Center on Friday after the flooding in Isabella and Midland counties.

In Isabella County, 90 roads were closed. No injuries were reported.

"It's probably some of the worst we've experienced in years," said Tony Casali, Isabella County Road Commission manager, who called the flooding "extreme."
Casali estimated damage in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Isabella Administrator Margaret McAvoy said motorists should stay off county roads for at least 24 hours. Police officers were using SUVs instead of patrol cars to navigate flooded roads and streets.

In Mount Pleasant, vehicles were stuck in flooded parking lots and on some city streets after up to 6 inches of rain fell in some areas.

Tow truck drivers aren't risking equipment to remove many of the stranded cars, said Paul Lauria, the city's public safety director.

The Midland County sheriff's office said water was deep enough Friday morning on some roads that vehicles were getting stuck.

The Red Cross opened an evacuation center in Midland County's Lee Township Hall.

A flood warning was in effect for the Tittabawassee River after the area got 4 to 7 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

Flood warnings also were issued in Gladwin, Isabella, Mecosta and Montcalm counties.

Forecasters predicted the Chippewa River could peak late Friday at more than 13 feet, according to the Morning Sun. The river's flood state is 8 feet.

More than 5 million gallons of partially treated wastewater was discharged into the river near Saginaw, reported.

High winds and thunderstorms Thursday night and early Friday knocked out power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses, mostly in Monroe, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. DTE Energy said late Friday power had been restored to more than 74,000 of the roughly 89,000 customers who lost it.

The utility said the storms caused tree limbs to snap and more than 300 power lines to fall.