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Gov. Rick Snyder Compares Disastrous Detroit Flooding To A Leak At His Lake House

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FILE- In a June 20, 2014 file photo, Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder speaks during an interview before signing legislation to provide state funding for Detroit municipal pensions in Detroit. (AP Photo/File)
FILE- In a June 20, 2014 file photo, Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder speaks during an interview before signing legislation to provide state funding for Detroit municipal pensions in Detroit. (AP Photo/File)

After record rains buried Detroit-area freeways, with flooding continuing in the next few days and causing widespread damage, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) commiserated.

"I've been there myself," Snyder told WJR radio host Frank Beckmann Wednesday, referencing a leak at his vacation home on a lake.

"Have you really?" Beckmann asked the governor, who affirmed. "A lot of people look at you, Governor Snyder, and they go, you know, here's the rich nerd who's always had it well because he's been successful, he's never been impacted by this flooding stuff."

Detroit received 4.57 inches of rain Monday, more than any day since 1925 and more than the average rainfall for all of August. Much of the rain fell in just three hours in the early evening, backing up drainage systems and leading to flooded freeways and a disastrous commute. Motorists were stuck in their cars in feet of water for hours, and in one suburb, a thousand cars were abandoned. More than 20,000 people lost power.

"I've been through a lot of things like that, Frank," Snyder said on WJR. "We just recently had holes in our roof from storm damage to our lake house. We have a vacation place, and we had a limb come down, put holes in the roof and had water running through the whole place. Those experiences are not pleasant ones."

Three people reportedly died because of the flooding: one woman suffered seizures while stranded in her car, a 100-year-old woman drowned in her basement and a man died while trying to push his van out of flood waters.

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.

Democrats and Snyder opponents were quick to jump on the governor's tone-deaf comments.

"The flooding facing many families in Metro Detroit is not at all like the leaky roof Snyder suffered at his vacation home or the storm damage to his lake house property," Michigan Democrats Communications Director Josh Pugh said in a statement. "Most people do not have a second or third home to turn to and many others have lost their primary means of transportation."

Snyder was in the Upper Peninsula earlier this week. He returned to the Lower Peninsula and surveyed the flooding damage by helicopter Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Snyder issued a state declaration of disaster for metro Detroit counties Wayne, Oakland and Macomb.

“The flooding that continues to impact Southeastern Michigan is a disaster in every sense of the word," he said in a statement. "As local and state authorities work around the clock to deal with this situation, it is clear that the significant personal property and infrastructure damage, coupled with ongoing threats to public safety, warrants this state declaration. By taking this action, the state can fully coordinate and maximize efforts to support its local partners."

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