June 29 (UPI) — Michigan officials said Monday they are asking the Biden administration for federal help after the city of Detroit was inundated by record weekend rainfall that caused widespread flooding.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and other officials said they are coordinating their efforts to obtain federal assistance after the historic rainfall, in which 6 inches of rain washed over the city in just two hours late Friday and early Saturday.
In the wake of the downpour, abandoned vehicles remained partially submerged on the city’s freeways while thousands of homes and businesses were flooded.
Whitmer toured a flooded section of Interstate 94 where the roofs of submerged cars were still visible above the water and afterward told reporters that climate change and aging infrastructure are to blame for the massive flooding.
“What we need is a comprehensive investment in infrastructure at the state level and at the federal level,” she said. “I’m glad that President [Joe] Biden is working to get an infrastructure package done because this is not unique to Michigan, but it is our job to deliver for the people in the state. We’re doing what we can with the resources we have.”
Duggan said an aging storm water system built decades ago when the city’s population was 1.5 million fewer than now cannot handle such extreme weather events.
“We are preparing the case for President Biden [to declare a disaster],” he said.
Whitmer on Saturday declared a state of emergency for Wayne County, which encompasses Detroit.