Remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy: Emergency Declared in Two Michigan Counties

Sean Breslin and Pam Wright
Published: June 24, 2017

The storm once known as Tropical Storm Cindy was downgraded to a remnant low Friday evening, but millions in the path of the system's heavy rain still face the risk of life-threatening floods.

As far north as Michigan, the torrential downpours damaged roads and left them impassable. Lt. Gov. Brian Calley declared a state of disaster in Isabella and Midland counties in central Michigan Friday after heavy rains led to what he called "extraordinary flooding and resulting damage," the Associated Press reports.

On Saturday, officials were bracing for record flooding along the Tittabawasee River in Midland County. 

"If you're from the Midland area, you remember the flood of '86," Selina Tisdale, community affairs coordinator for the city of Midland, told mlive.com. "This very easily could be one of the biggest overland flooding events of our community."

Earlier Friday, county officials had declared an emergency in Isabella County. No injuries were reported, but motorists were ordered off the roads, of which at least 90 were closed Friday, the report added.

"It's probably some of the worst we've experienced in years," Isabella County Road Commission manager Tony Casali told the AP.

Casali noted that damages from the flooding could reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

(MORE: Check the Forecast for Cindy)

The heavy rainfall also wasn't finished in northern Alabama, and on Friday afternoon, drivers became stranded on flooded roads in Muscle Shoals. Video showed people being pulled from submerged cars, while others tried to navigate floodwaters on swamped roads.

Communities along the Gulf Coast began to assess the damage left behind and face more flash flooding as severe weather associated with Cindy moves through. According to AL.com, weather service offices in Birmingham and Mobile will be sending out teams to assess the damage in Alabama Friday. 

In Mississippi, more than a foot and a half of rain fell in some areas.

Pennsylvania: EF1 Tornado Confirmed

An EF1 tornado that struck Washington County, Pennsylvania, on Friday was confirmed by the National Weather Service Saturday. The tornado hit near Lone Pine in western Pennsylvania, causing significant damage to trees and sseveral structures.

Ohio River Valley Swamped by Flooding

Conditions became dangerous Friday in the Ohio Valley as the system punished Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania with ferocious rain. A flash flood emergency was issued for the town of Indiana, Pennsylvania, and areas nearby as the floodwaters continued to rise Friday night.

In eastern Ohio, a portion of Interstate 70 was closed in both directions near the town of Kipling Friday evening. Numerous events were canceled in the Columbus area because of the weather, WSYX-TV reported.

A low-end EF1 tornado reportedly destroyed a barn Friday near the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln in LaRue County, Kentucky. 

Thousands Lose Power in Tennessee

Remnants of the storm moved into Tennessee on Friday, knocking down trees and prompting power outages. According to Memphis Light, Gas and Water, nearly 10,000 customers were without power Friday morning. 

In Memphis, workers cleared storm drains to help prevent street flooding. Officials with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency said its operations center in Nashville will be staffed Friday and Saturday, and the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said it is ready to receive requests for help. Authorities with the Tennessee Valley Authority in Knoxville said they were lowering water levels on nine lakes along the Tennessee River to reduce the threat of flooding.

Michigan: Sewer Overflows Reported Amid Flooding

Flooding was reported in numerous locations in southern Michigan Friday morning.

The city of Midland warned residents Friday that heavy rainfall over the past 24 hours was creating sewer overflows. Officials reminded residents in a Facebook post to avoid backed-up water and to use proper hygiene to avoid illness.

Michigan's Emergency Operations Center was activated Friday because of the flooding in Midland and Isabella counties. The flooding was so bad that many tow truck drivers weren't risking their vehicles to help pull stranded cars out of the water, public safety director Paul Lauria told the AP.

More than 69,000 DTE Energy customers were without power Thursday night as thunderstorms pushed through.

Louisiana Recovers

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards spoke to the media Thursday and urged all residents of his state to remain vigilant of possible impacts from prolonged flooding, especially near the coast. 

(MORE: 7 Extreme Hurricane Facts You May Not Know)

As heavy rain persisted Thursday, so did fears that floodwaters would inundate homes in the town of Lafitte, Louisiana. Mayor Tim Kerner said the rising water may impact homes and vehicles in the town south of New Orleans, and issued a voluntary evacuation for all residents, the AP reported.

Mike Steele of the governor's office told weather.com roofs were damaged in the town of Plaquemine, south of Baton Rouge.

A wind gust up to 62 mph was reported near Cameron.

Huge Rainfall Totals Reported in Mississippi

More than a foot and a half of rain was reported near Ocean Springs, and all that rain closed many roads along the coast. A few homes were flooded in Ocean Springs, the AP said, and a business that sells granite countertops was flooded in Gulfport.

In Ocean Springs, residents weren't just concerned about the floodwaters – they were concerned about the critters that may be lurking in them.

(MORE: 'Cindy' Goes Back as Far as 1959)

"One of our safety concerns is alligators," resident Erin West told the AP. "We have several alligators in the nearby ponds and it's springtime and they like to move around during springtime and everything."

The rainfall also raised concerns that rivers would rise to dangerous levels. With more than 8 inches of rain in the last five days, the Chickasawhay River at Leakesville was projected to crest at 31 feet – the highest level in more than 25 years, according to the AP.

The river's crest could threaten Leakesville Elementary School and other public facilities, the Green County Herald said.

(MORE: Floating Balls of Fire Ants Are Cindy's Lesser-Known Danger)

Child Killed on Alabama Coast; Damaging Tornado Strikes near Birmingham

Cindy was blamed for the death of a 10-year-old boy, who was killed by debris Wednesday morning in Fort Morgan. The child, identified Thursday as Nolan McCabe, died of injuries suffered when Cindy's storm surge washed a large log onto the shore and struck him, according to the AP. Police told AL.com the boy was from St. Louis and was on vacation with his family.

(WATCH: What Is Storm Surge?)

Nolan McCabe, 10, is pictured here.
(Mehlville School District)

On Thursday, Cindy spawned an EF1 tornado (originally rated EF2 Thursday, but downgraded Friday after further analysis) that left damage in areas southwest of Birmingham and injured four people. The tornado was spotted at about 1 p.m. CDT Thursday afternoon near the towns of McCalla and Fairfield as it tracked northeast. A few minutes later, several reports of structural damage were relayed to the National Weather Service.

Severe damage was reported to a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in Fairfield, a town of 10,000 about 10 miles southwest of Birmingham. WTVM-TV said an Express Oil Change shop and an ABC liquor store were destroyed, and three people were hospitalized with minor injuries.

"You could just hear some swirling and everything just started flying everywhere, constantly, it didn't stop,'' ShaTaura Lewis, who had just arrived at the ABC store as the twister closed in, told AL.com. "It just went through. It didn't take but five minutes or less."

– Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.


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