By Charles Sercombe
It’s been called disastrous, horrific, torrential, record-breaking, historic and maybe even biblical.
No matter what, Monday’s rainstorm was still being felt, cursed and debated by the time The Review went to press on Thursday evening.
Some 4-1/2 inches of rain fell hard and fast within about four hours, almost instantly causing massive street and highway flooding and — something Hamtramckans are long-used to — basement flooding.
By Tuesday, thousands of households in the Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties were throwing out furniture and prized possessions that were ruined in the flood waters.
For junk pickers, it was a treasure-trove.
Even though many residents in Hamtramck know better than to store items in their basement, at least not on the floor, you can’t do much about hot water heaters and washers and dryers.
Oh sure, you can elevate those appliances, but when water comes pouring in at two or more feet, forget it.
Hamtramck has long suffered from flooding during heavy rain storms because of the city’s inadequate sewer system. The system is simply too small in size to handle a rush of rain water, which means it backs up into basements.
A few years ago a hundred of our residents decided they had enough and successfully sued the city. However, it meant property owners had to pay a special tax to settle the lawsuit.
Because of the extent of flooding damage, Gov. Snyder has declared the tri-county area a disaster area, although it took him two days to do so, and that could lead to federal financial assistance.
On that part, cross your fingers.
Still, residents are being encouraged to file a form with the city’s Department of Public Works (call them at 313-876-7700).
While no official word about the flood came from the city administration, Mayor Karen Majewski was active on Facebook informing residents what was happening and available from the city.
Residents who still have debris to throw away can put it out on Friday evening for a special garbage collection on Saturday. Residents are being instructed to put their flood-damaged items at their normal collection spot.
“We’re doing what we can to help people out,” she said.
As for the flood, although residents here are used to them, this one was special, Majewski said.
“This is a flood everyone will remember where they were,” she said. “Obviously at first we thought this was the normal Hamtramck experience, but then we realized it was part of a flooding across the region.”
Majewski also encouraged residents to let the DPW know what damage to your basement and household occurred because Wayne County officials are compiling this information for possible federal assistance.
Although this storm was considered a freak occurrence, some weather experts warn this will be the new normal because of climate change.