Michigan experienced widespread flooding during rainstorms earlier this week. Alec Cohen/Daily.  Buy this photo.

Following a week of severe rainfall in Michigan and water damage to homes and roadways, Sue Shink, chair of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners (WCBC), announced Thursday a county-wide state of emergency.  

According to the WCBC, the state of emergency is effective immediately and will continue as the heavy rainfall persists. To stay safe, county officials said they urge residents to avoid flooded roads and damaged walkways. 

In a press release, Shink said the main reason for declaring a state of emergency was to ensure those in need received the help that they required. 

“Although Washtenaw County has already been working to assess and respond to flooding and to shelter and support residents who have been displaced by the flooding, this declaration will allow for local resources to be utilized to the fullest extent practical,” Shink said.  

Additionally, Shink wrote to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer urging her to declare a state of disaster or state of emergency for the area. Shink wrote that extra attention from Whitmer could help improve the disaster response by providing further financial support for those whose properties may be damaged and provisions for anyone who may need assistance or temporary shelter. 

Caroline Sanders, Washtenaw County Commissioner for District 4, reiterated Shink’s concerns in a statement in the press release. Sanders said further action is important especially since many residents might not have flood insurance.

“If we don’t act quickly and decisively to fully support them, they will be left holding the bag for thousands of dollars of needed repairs,” Sanders said. “We must work with the state and other partners to provide the resources and support necessary to help these families begin to recover.” 

Washtenaw County Administrator Gregory Dill said the county is doing everything they are able to protect its citizens. 

“Our first and primary goal during any disaster response is to ensure that everyone involved is safe and sheltered,” Dill said. “The county’s emergency response team will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to residents as we have them.” 

For any non-life-threatening emergency, such as property damage, the WCBC encourages residents to take photos of damaged possessions and report the damage by calling 211.

For more information and guidance, residents should visit: https://www.washtenaw.org/1807/Flooded-Homes

Summer News Editor Lily Gooding can be reached at goodingl@umich.edu.