Pop-up thunderstorms caused flooding in Genesee County - WNEM TV 5

Pop-up thunderstorms caused flooding in Genesee County

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
GENESEE COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

A pop-up thunderstorm dumped enough rain in one major Mid-Michigan city to turn roads into rivers in a matter of minutes on Wednesday.

It forced many drivers to find another way to get around town.

The water has since subsided, but the flood in Flint has many wondering what happened.

"If you had a low profile car you weren't getting through here. Even most trucks, you were not getting through here. It was just that deep in certain spots," said Andre Brown, Flint resident.

The water was deep enough to force emergency evacuation at the Flint intersection of Atherton and Van Slyke.

"We had those who just wanted to prove themselves and make it through," Brown said.

Brown lives near the intersection. He decided to take a detour home instead of chancing his luck.

"You were not getting through here," Brown said.

Genesee County was hit with pop-up thunderstorm flooding Wednesday night. The storms dropped about an inch and a half over several hours.

John Daly, director of the Genesee County Road Commission, said local storm water systems are similar to funnels. They aren't built to handle a lot of water all at once.

"What happens is the water backs up in the funnel first of all. And it sets at a level and it just goes gradually out the bottom," Daly said.

The system is designed to allow water to run into a drainage system or ditch, flow to a river or stream and eventually end up in Lake Huron.

Like a funnel, it can get backed up when water flow is intense.

"A rainfall that exceeds the design capacity of the storm water drainage system, that's going to be a problem," Daly said.

Ailing infrastructure can play a role, but officials said storm drainage systems simply can't handle each and every storm.

"Nobody has enough money to build a storm water drainage system that can hold and transport 100 percent of the water that it's going to get all of the time. It would be nice if we could, but we can't. So we build it to the best case," Daly said.

City officials in Flint said they have not identified any infrastructure problems that might have contributed to Wednesday night's flooding. They said any flooding is likely just a typical result of getting a lot of rain in a short period of time.

(Video courtesy of Genesee County Fire & EMS).

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