A shipping yard near the the Stellantis Jeep factory in Detroit was flooded this weekend after severe weather buffeted the region. Photos and video show dozens of vehicles underwater that appear to be Jeep Grand Cherokees.
A Stellantis spokeswoman confirmed that vehicles were submerged, and water had entered the plant. Jeep's statement:
As a result of severe storms that came through Detroit on June 25, many expressways, surface streets and neighborhoods in the area experienced significant flooding, including the Jefferson North Assembly Plant and an adjacent shipping yard. Water from the plant was removed and second shift resumed at 4:30 p.m. An assessment will be conducted on the condition of vehicles in the yard. We have no further information to share at this time.
The Detroit Free Press confirmed the situation at the holding yard. A spokesperson told the newspaper that many other models, including the Dodge Charger, Challenger, the new Jeep Grand Cherokee L, trucks and minivans are all held at the yard, an assembly point for vehicles to be loaded for shipment. Reporter Phoebe Wall Howard tweeted this photo:
Just in: Shipping yard near @Jeep plant submerged by #flooding in #Detroit and production disrupted. Also, @Ford F-150 production in @cityofdearborn stopped.
The story ⤵️https://t.co/2kvvHmWjV1@freep @freepautos @CityofDetroit @GM @Stellantis pic.twitter.com/TbDBiffp7W
— phoebesaid (@phoebesaid) June 26, 2021
Jefferson North is a 3-million-square-foot facility on 283 acres. It was recently retooled and modernized to build the next-generation Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee, part of a $4.5 billion Stellantis investment in its Detroit-area factories.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared a state of emergency for metro Detroit's Wayne County after extensive rainfall has crippled the region and created widespread flooding. More than 6 inches of rain fell Friday in parts of the Detroit area, overloading sewer systems. Some streets were completely flooded, while low-lying sections of freeways saw water deep enough to cover car tires and hoods.
A viewer sent video to Detroit's WXYZ-TV:
WATCH: @wxyzdetroit viewer sent us this footage of nearly submerged cars at the @Stellantis Jefferson North Assembly Plant @wxyzdetroit @HallyVogelWXYZ @JennaWils #MIWX #MIFlooding #MetroDetroit pic.twitter.com/58MuzZEs5p
— Jenn Schanz (@JennSchanzWXYZ) June 26, 2021
Flooding in Wayne County has been so bad this weekend that some motorists facing impassable roads have simply abandoned their vehicles. WXYZ reported there were "hundreds of vehicles that need rescuing." State police were removing vehicles still stranded on freeways, while checking to make sure no one remained in partially submerged cars.
A number of pumps designed to remove water from area freeways also were overloaded by the heavy rain, said Diane Cross, a spokeswoman for Michigan’s Department of Transportation.
“There is no way to keep pumping out water when more water is coming in,” Cross said.
Freeway catch basins also get clogged by leaves, branches and other debris which contributes to flooding. They have to be cleared out manually, she added.
FIRE IN THE WATER: This video is from a viewer, guessing it is an electrical fire. Many say staying in the vehicle felt dangerous as the water levels continued to rise but getting out of the vehicle to safety was scary too! @wxyzdetroit @HallyVogelWXYZ @JennSchanzWXYZ pic.twitter.com/1ReDwktzA2
— Jennifer Ann Wilson (@JennaWils) June 26, 2021
Whitmer's emergency declaration empowers Michigan State Police and the state's Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division to coordinate their response and recovery efforts. Whitmer also activated the State Emergency Operations Center earlier Saturday.
“We are continuing to work closely with emergency response coordinators and local leaders across the state to address widespread flooding,” Whitmer said. “The State Emergency Operations Center has been activated to coordinate our state’s response as we rush resources to affected areas, and the state of emergency declaration will help counties access even greater assistance. I want to thank everyone who has been working 24/7 to clear roadways, restore power and communications, provide emergency services, and make sure our neighbors have what they need to get through this storm. We’ve overcome tremendous challenges this year because Michiganders are a tough people who know that we are all in this together.”
As of Saturday morning, 49,000 customers were without power, but by afternoon DTE had cut that figure to 34,000. The utility's outage map showed scattered pockets of homes without power. The utility said it was having trouble getting its teams everywhere they needed to be due to the flooding.
Additional counties across southern Michigan could be added to the declaration as more heavy rain and strong winds are forecast over the weekend, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office said Saturday.
More than a dozen counties in mid-Michigan and southeastern Michigan remained under a hazardous weather outlook and a flood watch Saturday, according to the National Weather Service in White Lake Township.
The Detroit area also was under a flood warning Saturday.
“What’s being forecasted for tonight is one inch of rain, and if we get one inch of rain we’ll be just fine,” said Gary Brown, director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. “But if we get three inches of rain it’s going to be a problem with the ground being as saturated as it is and the system being able to manage that.”
Hundreds and possibly thousands of homes in Detroit had flooded basements or water in those basements and sewer backups, Brown told reporters Saturday.
“The intensity of these storms exceeded the designed standards for pump stations and combined sewer overflow facilities serving the Detroit region,” he said. “With this much rain, there’s nowhere for the water to go other than flooding streets and basements.”
The National Weather Service offers these cautions:
During a flood
Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Disconnect all electrical equipment.
Do not walk-through moving water. Six inches is enough water to knock you down.
Do not drive in flooded areas. Six inches of water can cause you to lose control and two feet of water can sweep away your car. Remember: Turn around, don’t drown.
Listen to local media reports for information about if the water supply is safe to drink.
Avoid contacting flood waters because they can be contaminated by hazardous liquids and may contain sharp debris.
Report and stay 25 feet away from downed power lines.
Driving in flood conditions
Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling. A foot of water will float many vehicles.
Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickups trucks.
Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious. The road bed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped.
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."
Contains material from The Associated Press