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Severe Storms Sweep Michigan; Flint River Overflows Again

September 9, 1985

FLINT, Mich. (AP) _ Severe thunderstorms smacked southern Michigan for a third straight day, dousing Flint with more than 3 inches of rain that sent the Flint River over its banks just two days after a record flood.

″The rain has caused a good deal of frustration,″ Mayor James Sharp said Sunday night. ″People had just about cleaned up from Friday’s storm.″

The Flint River, with a flood stage of 11 feet, dropped to 14.6 feet today after peaking at 15.3 feet late Sunday, the National Weather Service said.

Sharp said he expected losses from Friday’s flood to far exceed the original $10 million estimate.

New flooding was reported Sunday in adjoining Genesee and Lapeer counties.

″We have a dam downtown where the water is going over the top and around the sides,″ Flint police dispatcher Rick DeShano said. The river flooded a nearby park and several streets, but the dam was not believed to be in danger of collapsing, he said.

Sharp said the basements of at least 12 Flint-area houses collapsed Sunday.

″We’ve really sustained a lot of damage, more than than anyone can remember,″ Sharp said. ″We’re going to need help and we’re going to ask for it.″

A two-mile section of Interstate 75 and nearly four miles of I-475 were closed for more than 21/2 hours Sunday by more than three feet of water, said state police Trooper Richard Sack.

Sunday’s storms dumped 3 inches of rain and hail on Battle Creek in two hours, said city emergency services coordinator Jim Zoss.

″There’s been some flash flooding in low-lying areas,″ Zoss said.

Funnel clouds were sighted in Kent, Ionia, Genesee and Lapeer counties, but no touchdowns were reported, the weather service said.

In Lapeer, about 300 volunteers joined police and firefighters to build sandbag dikes in the Winns Dam area at the north branch of the Flint River, Police Chief Terry Fisk said today. The river was receding today.

Wind gusting to 70 to 80 mph blew out windows in several Mason-area homes, said weather service spotter Brent Williams of Mason.

Detroit Edison Co. spokeswoman Lorie Kessler said about 1,300 electricity customers were without power today, with outages scattered from the Thumb area to Macomb County and western Wayne County. About 15,000 Edison customers were without power Sunday night, she said.

About 2,000 Consumers Power Co. customers from Flint to Kalamazoo remained without power today, morning, said spokesman Michael Koschik. Before midnight, nearly 18,000 Consumers’ customers had lost service, he said.

Friday’s downpour flooded 10,000 homes and 20 percent of the residences in Flint, according William Ewing, city water and sewers director. No serious injuries were reported. The flooding damaged about 40 of Flint’s 60 public school buildings, Superintendent Joseph Pollack said Sunday.

The heavy rain also caused an estimated $1 million in nearby Flushing and $1.7 million in damage in Saginaw County, county and city officials had said.

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