A 100-year-old woman was found dead in her flooded basement in suburban Detroit on Tuesday, making it the third death that has been blamed on floodwaters in the region. Heavy rains in southeastern Michigan have caused flooding, road closures and loss of power since Monday.
Warren Mayor James Fouts reportedly said the woman’s 72-year-old daughter discovered the body when she went to her house to check on her mother. Authorities reportedly said that it appeared that Julia Sarno had died of drowning but the actual cause of death was not immediately clear. Streets and highways were flooded on Monday after Warren, the third-largest city in Michigan, located about 19 miles north of Detroit, was hit with 5.2 inches of rain.
"This is going to go down as the great flood of 2014," Fouts said, according to The Associated Press, or AP.
Officials reportedly said that Monday night's rainfall in Detroit was the most the city has received in almost nine decades. The heavy rains also forced the closure of General Motors' (NYSE:GM) technical center outside Detroit, while portions of Interstates 75, 94, 696 were also closed, according to reports.
Anna Stella, a neighbor of Sarno said, according to CBS News, that she was a great person who did not seem so old.
"As a neighbor she was great, constantly saying 'hi' ... and every Christmas I would have a Christmas card from her and for every holiday she would call me and say 'hi,'" Stella said.
Another neighbor reportedly said: “They should have had the sewer system better prepared, the city should have been better prepared for the storm, but they were not prepared at all.”
A 30-year-old woman died Monday due to a seizure after her vehicle was trapped in high waters, while CBS News reported that a 68-year old man from Warren reportedly died of a heart attack while he was trying to push his vehicle out of the floodwaters in Oak Park, a northern suburb of Detroit. According to reports, the high waters stranded about 1,000 vehicles as many roads were closed, and some people spent the night in their cars.
"I spoke with Snyder [Michigan Governor Rick Snyder ]and told him we were in need of help clearing roads of abandoned vehicles and basement flooding," Fouts, who declared a state of emergency for Warren, said, according to AP. "Now it's time for the state and federal government to give back what we've been giving. Right now, there are thousands of people in Warren who need help."