Severe rainstorms and heavy flooding kept workers away from Michigan automakers Ford, GM and Chrysler, causing the Detroit big three to either close down or severely slow down production at both assembly plant and tech centers on Monday. In fact, a forced shutdown due to road closures and power issues affected more than 19,000 employees at General Motor’s Technical Center in suburban Detroit according to company spokeswoman Katie McBride.
According to the National Weather Service, 5-6 inches of rain fell, the “second heaviest” downpour in one day, causing massive flooding, which shut down major sections of highway and forced commuters to take long detours to work.
In the meantime, Jodi Tinson, representing Chrysler, stated that all their plants in the region, Sterling Heights Assembly, Jefferson North Assembly, Warren Stamping and Sterling Stamping experienced flooding and slow deliveries caused by road closures. In fact, approximately 1,000 vehicles ended up being abandoned in floodwaters including Chrysler Sterling Heights employee Tiffany Gates who stated that she had to get out of her Jeep and “swim” for it after the vehicle stalled out at the flooded entrance ramp to I696, as well as a car-carrier hauling 200 Chrysler sedans was left stranded after water began to rise up to its first level.
In another case, firefighters in Warren, MI were forced to wade through chest-high water to get a woman into an emergency vehicle after she was pulled from her car by passersby in Sterling. The unnamed victim had apparently had a seizure while driving according to local Fire Chief David Frederick, who added that she was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. In another case, a 100-year old woman was found dead in a flooded basement.
Although more showers and thunderstorms hit the area again today, all the car manufacturers expected to return to normal operating schedules. In the meantime, Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder asked people to stay away from flooded roadways.