We experienced quite a rain event yesterday here in Auburn Hills, and throughout the area. As a resident myself, I was woken by the sound of my home computer printer rebooting after a power failure at about 4:45am. As soon as I opened my eyes I could see the window sills reflecting the flashes of lighting, accompanied by the sound of thunder. I could hear the buzzing of home generators in the background somewhere nearby in the neighborhood. On the way to work there was a lane of Brown Road coned off because of debris in the road. When I arrived at the office my colleague told me that he had to divert around numerous closed freeways during his morning commute. I guess I was the lucky one as far as the drive in was concerned.
I spent the first couple hours of my day leapfrogging between several city buildings checking on things, and surveying the aftermath of the storm. Our custodians are the first ones in, and of course, they had already checked most of the buildings and reported a few small problems. In one case, a drain outside one of our emergency exit doors was clogged and caused water to seep in under the door. All in all, things were looking okay. Mother nature can certainly throw a punch, and this was a good example of it. Out in front of the Community Center we had one clogged drain which flooded a portion of the parking lot. We are pretty sure the drain was clear at the start of the rain event, but succumbed to the sheer volume of water and the materials it carried during the rain surge. Leftover in the parking lot was a river of wood chips and debris that was evidence of what was carried through the parking lot.
This is a good example of why it’s important to keep your gutters clean and your downspouts in good shape. Water is a powerful thing, and I am happy to report that the impact on us was minimal. I hope that our friends and neighbors fared as well. In case you are wondering how we unclogged the storm drain in the Community Center parking lot, it just took 2 dedicated employees, one of them hanging off the side of a John Deere gator with a rake, and a good memory of where the drains are. Follow that up with a backpack blower, and the Community Center is back in business (or at least the COVID version of regular business).
Stan Torres, Manager of Municipal Properties, Department of Public Works