Credit/ Michigan Technological University

Historic Rain, Catastrophic Flooding Hit The U.P. [PHOTOS]

"People are just in shock."

June 18, 2018 - 8:51 am

HOUGHTON (WWJ) - Catastrophic flooding in Michigan's Upper Peninsula washed out several roads in the Houghton and Hancock areas and created dozens of sinkholes across the Keweenaw Peninsula. Some are calling it the 1,000-year event. 

Storms moved through the area dumping over six to seven inches of rain within a couple of hours over the weekend.

Officials in southern and central Houghton County declared a Flash Flood Emergency due to the storms. 

The National Weather Service says that as much as six inches of rain fell in some areas and that law enforcement agencies are reporting that many roads are impassable and covered by debris. The weather service says that area residents are asked to stay off the roads until the "water subsides and the debris has been cleared."

Video from the Weather Channel shows several areas that are completely wiped out. 

WLUC TV's Vicky Crystal says the skys just opened up and unleashed a torrent of rain. 

"It was a historic rain event, our meteorologists here tell us that over 6-7 inches of rain fell in just a matter of an hour or two."

"In Houghton, the Houghton County area -- these people -- I've seen them live through blizzards that would cripple an area for days and they just keep carrying on," says Crystal. "I've never see devastation in this area like this - people are just in shock. They were not ready for this."

The Michigan Department of Transportation says several parts of U.S. 41 were washed out between Chassell and Houghton.  Parts of the pavement on M-26 and M-203 in Houghton County were also washed out. 

 MDOT crews were evaluating the roads and planning detours.  Because of the flooding and road damage, Michigan Tech closed its campus Monday.  Power to the campus was temporarily shut down because the Administration Building, which is a hub of electrical power distribution, flooded.

Michigan Tech spokesman Ian Repp telling WWJ that the water is receding, but they won't make a decision about classes tomorrow until later in the day.  He says about 800 students are living in residence halls and apartments.

Power was restored to all building expect the Administration building, which received the bulk of the water damage and is still closed. 

The Coast Guard has issued an advisory for those on Lake Superior -and is urging boaters near the Keweenaw Peninsula to avoid going in the water because of significant debris.  

Crystal says a 12-year-old had to be rescued by his father when a basement wall collapsed.  He was airlifted to a hospital because the roads were so bad.