(Updates with quotes from mayor, governor, background on
DETROIT Aug 12 Heavy rains in southeast
Michigan hit the operations of U.S. automakers in the region,
including forcing the closure of General Motors Co's
technical center outside Detroit.
Detroit city officials said Monday night's heavy rainfall
was the most rain the city had seen in almost nine decades. It
caused flooding, power losses and road closures, including parts
of several major highways.
"In the short amount of time it came down ... it did a lot
of shutdown to the whole metro area," said Michigan Governor
Rick Snyder, according to a video clip on WXYZ Detroit.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said that the volume of rain -
over 5 inches in some areas - overwhelmed sewer systems, causing
"As of Tuesday morning, August 12, water levels were
subsiding and most road flooding had receded," he said in a
statement on Facebook.
The flooding hit a city already strained to meet its public
safety needs. The lack of police and fire equipment has been a
significant factor in Detroit's bankruptcy proceedings, and
cutbacks to personnel have contributed to making response times
to emergency incidents among the worst in the nation, according
to filings in Detroit's bankruptcy proceeding.
A hearing before a federal judge is scheduled to begin on
Aug. 21, at which Detroit is expected to argue that its plan to
adjust $18 billion of debt is feasible and it is prepared to
exit the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Disruption to automakers saw GM's technical center in
Warren, Michigan, closed after flooding caused loss of power in
parts of the campus, a spokeswoman said. GM and contractors
employ about 19,000 people there in various functions, including
research and development, design, engineering, information
technology and customer satisfaction.
The employees were told to work from home or other remote
locations while the No. 1 U.S. automaker worked to get the
technical center reopened, the spokeswoman said. No timetable
was available on when that would be.
GM said there had been no impact on any of its plants in the
Ford Motor Co said some plant operations were affected
Monday night, including production slowdowns at the Dearborn,
Michigan, truck and stamping plants; an assembly plant in Wayne,
Michigan; the Sterling, Michigan, axle and transmission plants;
and a stamping plant in Woodhaven, Michigan.
Additionally, a spokeswoman said the No. 2 U.S. automaker's
Chicago and Kentucky assembly plants experienced some production
interruptions due to flooding at Michigan-based suppliers, but
all Ford plants were operating on normal schedules.
Chrysler Group, a unit of Italy's Fiat, said four
of its plants in Michigan had been affected by flooding. The
unit said it also had higher-than-normal worker absenteeism and
slowed deliveries due to road closures.
The plants affected included assembly plants in Detroit and
Sterling Heights, Michigan, as well as stamping plants in
Sterling Heights and Warren. Production was slowed at the
plants, but the company expects production on the second shifts
at all the plants to resume at normal times.
(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit, additional reporting by
Megan Davies in Detroit; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)