Record Flood Fills Detroit Freeways As Drivers Abandon Their Cars

08/12/2014 11:12 am ET | Updated Aug 13, 2014

Detroit was pummeled with torrents of record-breaking rain Monday evening, stranding drivers on flooded freeways and leaving one dead.

The city received 4.57 inches of rain Monday, Detroit's second highest on record following a rainfall of 4.74 inches in 1925, according to the National Weather Service. Some communities received more than 6 inches of rain. In contrast, the average rainfall for all of August is just 3 inches.

flooding

A stranded motorist sits on top his car as he awaits rescue from the flooded Southfield Freeway, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in Dearborn, Mich. AP Photo by Carlos Osorio.

Rain fell throughout the day, but during afternoon commuting hours it filled local freeways. Water reached heights of 14 feet on certain roadways, according to the Detroit News, forcing some drivers to abandon their cars and prompting the Michigan State Police to send divers to look at the freeways.

detroit flooding

Water floods the intersection of Interstates 75 and 696 in Hazel Park, Mich., Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. AP Photo by Carlos Osorio.

One woman died of possible cardiac arrest when she got stuck in the storm, Warren, Mich. Mayor Jim Fouts told WWJ. Several hundred people in Warren were stranded in a parking lot and needed to be rescued by emergency teams, according to the Macomb Daily. Fouts told the paper that he may ask Gov. Rick Snyder to send in the National Guard.

flooding

Stranded motorists look over flooded vehicles, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in Dearborn, Mich. AP Photo by Carlos Osorio.

Snyder told WWJ Tuesday that authorities were prepared for the event and were taking immediate action.

“We’ve activated the State Emergency Operation Center, we’ve sent in three additional squads of Michigan State Police to help motorists,” he told the station. “MDOT has already gone to emergency procedures, we’re getting additional contracting recourses in, putting emergency pumps in and we have backhoes going to help remove mud. We’ve taking a dramatic series of action already without waiting for declarations."

detroit flooding

Cars are stranded along a flooded stretch of Interstate 75 in Hazel Park, Mich., Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. AP Photo by Carlos Osorio.

On Tuesday morning, some freeways around the Detroit area were still closed due to weather. Many residents were left with flooded basements.

detroit flooding

Water floods the intersection of Interstates 75 and 696 in Hazel Park, Mich., Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. AP Photo by Carlos Osorio.

According to the Free Press, part of why the floods were so damaging is how much rain fell in a short period, 3 inches between 5 and 8 p.m. There was too much water to drain as normal, and freeways' pump stations became overloaded, according to WDIV-TV.

detroit flooding

Cars are stranded along a flooded stretch of Interstate 75 in Hazel Park, Mich., Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. AP Photo by Carlos Osorio.

One of the most gripping accounts of the storm comes from WXYZ, which shared a reader video of rain filling a public bus. News outlets and residents, many who had to continue commuting through the backed-up freeways, also shared photos and videos of the flooding on Reddit, Twitter and YouTube.

Another reason you don't want to live in Detroit right now.

(Swimming and playing in the water isn't recommended, as it could contain hazardous material or raw sewage.)

The forecast calls for more rain Tuesday, though it is not expected to be a repeat of Monday's historic storms.

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