Global Warming: The Incompetent Politician's Excuse?

If you believe warmist claims, then this abandoned house in Delray, Detroit, was likely overwhelmed by global warming, just like the sewer, causing occupants to flee as “climate refugees”.

Detroit blaming global warming instead of poor infrastructure maintenance.

Story submitted by Eric Worrall

The US City of Detroit is currently in the midst of a crisis – a massive rainstorm has overwhelmed the city’s sewer system, causing extensive flooding.

However, Craig Covey, spokesman for Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash, has blamed global warming for the floods.

According to Covey;

“The system worked exactly like it was supposed to, but we’re seeing these rain events that used to be unusual but just aren’t anymore,” Covey said. “This is going to become more normal and we need to understand that ‘100-year storm’ is an outdated term.”

Covey blamed climate change, and said federal and local governments need to make major investments in infrastructure because “this is exactly what Southeast Michigan’s weather is going to be like in the future.”

If the people of Detroit accept the explanation that global warming is to blame for the disaster, then nobody will be looking to blame the politicians who are responsible for maintaining the city’s waste water system.

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The actual rainfall data from the USHCN doesn’t support the claim:

Screenshot at May 08 09-52-24

Graph by Tony Heller from original NOAA data.

I wonder how well Detroit is keeping up with keeping the storm sewer system clear of debris? With so much of the city in urban decay, extra debris in the sewers is almost a given.

Even the EPA says regular cleaning is needed for storm water sewer systems to overflow:

Clogged drains and storm drain inlets can cause the drains to overflow…

One thing in the news recently about Detroit is the inability of many residents to pay their water bill. News media seems to have missed the connection in their own headlines.

detroit_flooding_headlines1

Source: CBS Detroit

And as any homeowner reading this knows, the water bill also includes the sewage fee. When people aren’t paying the water bill, they also aren’t paying to keep the sewer system running. Here is the latest financial report for Detroit’s sewer system:

detroit_sewer_financials

Source: http://www.dwsd.org/downloads_n/about_dwsd/financials/2013_sewage_fund.pdf

Note the yellow highlight, almost half of their budget is in “doubtful” aka unpaid accounts. Surely maintenance suffers when such a situation occurs.

No, it couldn’t be that. Why blame your own management of the sewer system when global warming is an easy out? – Anthony

 

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Kaboom

First they complain about not having free water and as soon as they get it, they don’t want it either …

LeeHarvey

Funny… I live about 40 miles (as the crow flies) from Detroit, and despite getting the same storms that they did, we didn’t have any particularly bad flooding.
Couldn’t be that my neighbors actually pay their property taxes, and our elected officials aren’t corrupt beyond belief, could it?

CodeTech

Bingo – same as here. One heavier than usual storm coupled with slightly above average snow pack in the mountains (caused by cooling, by the way) and we have record floods that have never been seen, ever. Unless you look it up and find worse ones in the 1920s and 30s. And there have been major reports every decade since then telling the city that they HAVE to dredge and berm the two major rivers that intersect in the middle of a major city… or else.
I feel like I live in a city of robots programmed to accept “climate change” as the “obvious” answer to everything that has happened here almost ever year, or at least every decade.
All cities and town counsels are benefiting from this charade, they can waste money on stupid crap that nobody needs or wants, and scream “climate change” when their failure to do their jobs becomes too obvious.

Brock Way

The 1967 riots happened because it was windy. Kilpatrick was put in prison because it was humid. Nearly 1.5 million residents have fled the city because of the dew point.

D. B. Cooper

Windsor Ontario Canada is 200 yards away . . . . Seemed fine there. What we have is Micro, Teensy-Weensy Very Highly Localized “Global Warming”

Resourceguy

(federal) Money talks!

well I am not on city water here but where I am in maine this year it pretty much has not stopped raining since april.
yeah slight exaggeration but due to rain I have not yet been able to fully mow the lawn in one sitting.
and my property not flooded, my roads are ok, including the one I maintain.
its been a cold summer here too, global warming my aching a$$

Absent yet from both analyses is the real cause of the problem.
The financial elites chose to abandon Detroit to decay so as to maximize exploitation of labor by offshoring jobs. No, that’s not the fault of local government, which actually offered obscene incentives to keep jobs. Google Poletown.
No administration can keep up the infrastructure of a city when the tax base is gone.

LeeHarvey

Furthermore… Craig Covey might want to blame climate change, but I’d sooner blame the miscreants who think that the highway is their personal trash can when the storm drains get clogged and back up water onto the roads.

thingadonta

“we need to understand that ‘100-year storm’ is an outdated term”
The term is outdated by overuse, the actuality remains the same.
If a tree falls in a forest and everybody saw it and says so, did it happen more than once?

Pamela Gray

The downturn in the economy hits everywhere and with nearly equal force from the middle incomers down, and in every state and territory. The replacement of decent wages with service jobs will not get us out of this quagmire. The replacement of town and city sized risky private companies with investment based stock holder international corporations who depress their overhead in order to keep stocks up is a comeback damper as well, not to mention regulations. And to tell you the truth, I don’t know how we are going to get out of it.

Resourceguy

Climate change is the new generic code for extra money. It is used by Jerry Brown in California for drought relief money and a presidential visit and it will be used in Detroit for flooding money and general supplemental aid justification. Willful neglect of taxpayer funds is like a cancer and is unlikely to go away on its own.

The thread title: “Global Warming: The Incompetent Politician’s Excuse?”
would imply that there are competent politicians.
This assumes facts not in evidence.
/sarc

BallBounces

“The system worked exactly like it was supposed to”
Sounds just like “our algorithm is working as designed”.

Mohatdebos

The rainstorm and the ensuing flood is a godsend for warmists in the Detroit area. They had been screaming for the last decade that water levels in the Great Lakes were lower because of global warming. Those claims were discredited this year as water levels have risen to normal or above normal. Now they can talk about this rain event, which used to happen frequently in the 1980s, and I am sure will happen again. It will be interesting to see how the outcome differs in Baltimore or Long Island, which are suffering from even bigger deluge.

M.J. Wise

Oh boy. It’s sad how distorted stories get when they become national news. First off, no part of Detroit is in Oakland County.
Second, yes, this was, by all available climatological information, a 100-year storm for the Detroit metro area, especially given that the entire event was really only 6 hours in length, with the flooding rain really occurring over maybe 2 hours. The extreme totals were highly localized over a specific area pretty much smack dab over Detroit and the closest cities. Some cities bordering Detroit (and where the worst highway flooding was) got over 6″ of rain in a few hours. 6″ is nearly 20% of annual average precip for this area.
The only really comparable recorded event for Detroit occurred on July 31, 1925. Still sounds like a 100-year event to me.

PMHinSC

Don’t know about “100-year storm”, but I do believe 100-year FLOOD is an outdated term. Although localized these problems are anthropogenic in nature and caused by land use changes resulting in more run off, new bridge footings which restrict river flow, levies, and lack of adequate dredging result in backup of rivers. In another century I lived in the New Orleans area for 10 years and experienced several 100-year floods.

Rob

This is exactly the same as the flooding in South-West England – blame it on global warming when it was actually a deliberate policy of not clearing the flood drains.

Terry

Just like the floods earlier this year on the Somerset levels – although rural not urban. Blame climate change and not the woeful level of river and drain maintenance over the last 25 years.
Terry

JimS

If climate change was a human being, it could, in some nations, successfully sue for defamation of character.

R. Shearer

There was flooding in Windsor too, although it does not seem to be as bad. http://windsorite.ca/2014/08/reader-photos-windsor-floods-after-heavy-rains/

rogerknights

If there is data on the Detroit weather station’s rainfall record, it should be posted–ideally as a chart.
Also, if there is historic data on money spent on sewer maintenance, that should be posted.
Hopefully this flooding partially flushed out some of the blockage.

M.J. Wise

I have no idea if this will link properly either, but here goes: http://water.weather.gov/precip/index.php?yday=1407801600&yday_analysis=0&layer%5B%5D=0&layer%5B%5D=1&layer%5B%5D=4&timetype=RECENT&loctype=STATE&units=engl&timeframe=last7days&product=observed&loc=stateMI
Note the location of the extreme totals are directly over Detroit.
This happened courtesy a deepening surface low riding up southwest of Detroit which caused an area of intense rain to form for several hours just east of the dry slot. It was a system with fall-like dynamics but with the more typical summer airmass and moisture content. The 1925 event happened in a similar setup. Strong baroclinic lows are not typical in early or mid-August and the jet stream is usually fairly north of here during summer.

LeeHarvey

@ rogerknights –
It’s one thing to say: “Also, if there is historic data on money spent on sewer maintenance, that should be posted.”
It’s entirely another to fish out what percentage of cash that was given for sewer maintenance actually went for sewer maintenance, and not for kickbacks and bribes.

hunter

From Katrina to Sandy and now this year even thunderstorms we see the results of decades of incompetent governance hiding behind climate as an excuse for the failures of the government workers and leaders to do their basic jobs. Detroit’s use of this excuse, when their incompetent leadership has literally destroyed the city, may wake people up. It is time to stop allowing the climate fear scam be used to hide corrupt incompetence.

dccowboy

“The system worked exactly like it was supposed to”
So the system was supposed to back up and flood? Interesting design.

Chris4692

The weather station at the Detroit Airport reported over 4 inches of rain in 6 hours. According to Rain Atlas 14, this is, as the article stated, around a 200 year event. Although design practice varies by local ordinances, generally the practice is to design urban stormwater systems for a maximum 2 year to 10 year event, depending on the value of the district. No urban stormwater system will carry a 200 year event, regardless how well maintained the system is. In extreme events such as this there will be localized flooding.
The flooding in this event is due to the magnitude of the event, NOT inadequate maintenance, NOT poor design, NOT poor construction. Maintenance, design, and construction might be contributing factors, but flooding in an event of this size is inevitable.

JimS

In the true sense of the term “climate change,” extreme flooding events are consistent with a change towards cooling as evidenced by what happened in Europe when it entered into the Little Ice Age.

Off the subject a bit but…..this Global Warming and its power…..???
Had to take the wife to Dr. over in Dallas, in the waiting room the mag. rack.
Keep in mind this is in “conservative Texas” with Rick Perry as Gov. who appoints the people who run Texas Parks ect. to include who runs this mag..
Texas Parks & Wildlife ,, May 2014
http://www.TPWMAGAZINE.com or http://www.tpwmagazine.com not sure which they have it in all caps on the mag cover.
Starts on page 45, “Unlocking the secrets of a songbird’s amazing journey” by Elaine Robbins
Great stuff on the trip of the birds to Brazil and back to Texas, good info….
but…
on page 49 right side of page….
“They now suspect tat climate change is a major culprit in the bird’s decline, and their last research focuces on whether the birds can adapt. The spring of 2012 was the hottest on record, but purple martins did not adjust their arrival time in North America, as some shorter distance migrants do.
This means they arrived late for the advanced spring…..
Will in never end?

George V

Gotta add a comment here as I live in SE Michigan. Most of the news reports about flooding are concentrated in the suburbs north and west of Detroit – Ferndale, Berkley, Royal Oak, Warren, Sterling Height, and Dearborn and Allen Park to east. These local municipalities maintain their own water and sewer systems that tie into the Detroit water and sewage systems, and charge their own fees for service and system maintenance. The storm was unusual, dumping 5-6 inches, most of it during a few hours in the afternoon, in a swath from Detroit to the north, while I live about 30 miles northwest and got 2.75 inches in the rain gauge. I live in a very well managed township and we would have been flooded with this much rain in such a short time.

This has always been a problem for Detroit. Three times as many people (wealthiest) live in the suburbs, they depend on Detroit but pay no taxes. Not a hard math problem.

neutronbomb

Some Detroit officials also place blame on vandals who allegedly stole copper pipe from “several” pumping stations: http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2014/08/13/copper-theft-a-possible-factor-in-metro-detroit-freeway-flooding/

Jim G

Pamela Gray says:
August 13, 2014 at 6:24 am
“The downturn in the economy hits everywhere and with nearly equal force from the middle incomers down, and in every state and territory. The replacement of decent wages with service jobs will not get us out of this quagmire. The replacement of town and city sized risky private companies with investment based stock holder international corporations who depress their overhead in order to keep stocks up is a comeback damper as well, not to mention regulations. And to tell you the truth, I don’t know how we are going to get out of it.”
On the corporate side, allowing CEO’s to sit on one and other’s boards of publicly owned corporations to approve the outlandish compensation packages for themselves needs to be banned. This includes the golden parachute deals they get when they finally leave after screwing the company and stockholders into the ground. On the government side, the jobs are just too sweet and attract greed and slime rather than public service minded individuals. Cut the pay and benefits there and things might improve. Just removing the very high security given many politicians and you could get rid of the cowards, at least. Of course none of this will ever happen with the politicians and corporate fathers with hands in each other’s pockets. But, as usual, one can follow the money to the answers to most problems in this world.

Bill W

MJ Wise is correct that Detroit is not in Oakland County and that the rain event was unusual.
Anthony was correct to point out that Craig Covey’s relating a 100-year event to global warming was idiotic and not supportable with any actual data.
However, the piling on about Detroit and its property taxes, sewer systems, and corruption seems unnecessary and off-topic for WUWT. There are a multitude of problems that declining cities face – from an inability to afford adequate police and fire protection, inability to fund infrastructure improvements, the poor health of its aging citizenry, and contempt and ridicule from those more fortunate and (often) far away.
What Detroit is facing is not that different from economic collapses faced by many cities over the past 50+ years – Newark NJ, Gary IN, Flint MI, Youngstown OH to name a few. When the jobs go, the people leave and the city struggles to survive. The problems are the same whether the climate is benign or hostile.

John Dibbs

How can the system work as it’s supposed to when scrappers have stolen the copper?
http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20140812/NEWS/140819961/state-officials-removing-water-doesnt-remove-trouble-freeways-could
In some cases, the pumping has been slowed by power outages and theft. Cross said MDOT has discovered several locations where thieves stripped out the valuable copper pipes from some pumping stations. Because those stations are used only when needed, they are not staffed 24/7. MDOT was unaware the copper had been removed — until now.

Trond Arne Pettersen

Cloaca Maxima is part of the sewer system the Romans built in ancient Rome. Still working.

Brian

Chris4692 says:
August 13, 2014 at 7:43 am
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/ohd/hdsc/Technical_papers/TP29P5.pdf
100 year events; page 26; 4.46″ for 6 hours, 5.01″ for 24 hours.
The current event was 4.57″ over “several hours”. The last event of this magnitude was 4.74″ over several hours 1925. Looks like this was right in the 100 year wheelhouse.

jmichna

We live in the western UP of Michigan, more than 600 miles from Detroit, but Detroit news frequently makes the local radio broadcasts. Detroit’s “flooding” was discussed this morning. Not widely reported were the large number of inoperable storm/sewer system pumping stations… inoperable because of copper (wire) theft by the locals. Copper theft in this area has a long history, but usually it’s the looting of vacant buildings’ wiring, and lighting along highways & interstate bypasses that are hit. If you’ve driven through the Detroit metro area at night the last couple decades or so, you know what I’m talking about. The thieves steal copper wire and cabling and sell as scrap copper to metal recycling centers. I guess the heavy rains have now highlighted the fact that thieves have also been hitting the pumping stations.

mkelly

“The system worked exactly like it was supposed to, …”
+++++++
Why would you design a system to cause flooding? Maybe all the pavement and concrete roads had something to do with it.

LogosWrench

How about 30 years of mayor Coleman Young and his cronies? No one can undo that damage.

tadchem

One of the reasons politicians cannot accomplish anything productive – ever – is that they have this mysterious compulsion to seek to blame problems on somebody else rather than to seek solutions.

tom s

As a practicing meteorologist I can tell you localized heavy rain events occur frequently. Most of them happen away from larger cities. By happenstance this synoptic event took place over a decaying city. These idiot politicians should be tarred and feathered. Unfortunately they get away with it because we have a populace that is scientificically inept.

Jim G

Fifty years of Democrat control of detroit, with all of their concern for the poor, seems to have done wonders for the city in so may ways. What is that definition of insanity? “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”? I guess that goes for voting as well.

Barbara Skolaut

JohnWho – you don’t need a /sarc tag for that statement. It’s unfortunately all too true.

Pathway

Welcome to the socialist utopia.

CrossBorder

Even the EPA says regular cleaning is needed for storm water sewer systems to overflow:
Clogged drains and storm drain inlets can cause the drains to overflow…
(bolding mine)
Umm, oxymoron? How about something like “the lack of needed regular cleaning may cause storm water sewer systems to overflow.”

rogerknights

jmichna says:
August 13, 2014 at 8:12 am
We live in the western UP of Michigan, more than 600 miles from Detroit, but Detroit news frequently makes the local radio broadcasts. Detroit’s “flooding” was discussed this morning. Not widely reported were the large number of inoperable storm/sewer system pumping stations… inoperable because of copper (wire) theft by the locals.

I hope an intrepid reporter will check this out and nail it down, one way or the other.

MattS

In addition to many residents being too poor to pay their bills, Detroit is suffering from significant population loss. This results in both loss of general property tax revenue and municipal utility revenue. Given Detroit’s dismal financial state, it’s no surprise that they can’t properly maintain their storm drain system. It’s also no surprise that politicians and bureaucrats want to make sure blame falls anywhere but on them.

MarkW

aletho says:
August 13, 2014 at 6:02 am
—–
It wasn’t the mythical financial elites who drove those jobs out of Detroit.
It was the unions and govt that created the situation that it was too expensive to stay in Detroit.
Tell me, do you deliberately shop at the most expensive store in town? If not, why do you complain when companies do the same thing with their expenses?

MarkW

Pamela Gray says:
August 13, 2014 at 6:24 am
——-
First off the “decent paying jobs” only existed in the first place because WWII devasted every first world country except the US. It was inevitable that the rest of the world would eventually recover and start competing with us again. It was also inevitable that 3rd and 2nd world countries would not be content with their poverty and would seek to become 1st world and to compete with us as well.
Secondly, service jobs can pay very well thank you. I’ve become quite comfortable doing such work. (Clue, service jobs are pretty much any job that doesn’t involve manufacturing.)