Detroit Floods as the Pacific Northwest Bakes: It's Time to Shift the Conversation About Climate Change

The record-breaking heatwave in the Pacific Northwest has mostly been depicted in the media by kids running through fountains, but images of flooded highways and stranded vehicles in Detroit tell a more accurate story of climate change.

1 minute read

June 30, 2021, 12:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Flood waters overwhelm a park, full of empty benches, on a sunny day.

Summer isn't what it used to be. | Pxfuel

Detroit is flooding as the city deals with heavy rainfall that dropped as much precipitation on the city in five hours as usually falls in two hours.

Jer Staes reports: "I-94, as of this recording, is still flooded. The Fisher Building sits dark without power due to a substation being out. Thousands of basements were filled with water, and countless personal items lost across Detroit, Dearborn, the Grosse Pointes, and elsewhere."

The extreme weather and its consequences are happening the same day as record demolishing heats grip the Pacific Northwest. Climate change, and the country's collective lack of preparation for extreme weather, are in the spotlight.

"There’s a lot to this story, and with such a catastrophic failure, there’s no one answer. But a big part of this is climate change. Our infrastructure, in some cases built as much as a century ago, wasn’t designed for this new climate we find ourselves in today," reports Staes.

The article is a previews a podcast that includes a shout out to Sheril Kirshenbaum, Michigan State University researcher and author of Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future, who advocates for connecting the dots between the many systems affected by the flooding—food, health, safety, and the economy.

Monday, June 28, 2021 in Daily Detroit

Aerial view of homes on beach in Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii Passes First Legislation Regulating Short-Term Rentals Statewide

The new law will give counties the power to limit number or short-term rentals and convert existing short-term rental units back into long-term residential housing.

May 13, 2024 - USA Today

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Rail tracks on the left, rustic log-built train station painted reddish brown with a green metal roof and concrete platform on the right, evergreen forest and bright blue sky with fluffy white clouds in the background.

More Passenger Rail Coming to Montana

Planning is underway to restore a 45-year-defunct regional passenger rail line connecting southern Montana to Billings and Amtrak’s east-west Empire Builder line from Seattle to Chicago.

May 14, 2024 - 8KPAX

Apartment For Rent Sign

HUD Proposal Would Soften ‘One-Strike’ Policy

Formerly incarcerated people are often barred from publicly subsidized housing, putting them at higher risk for homelessness and recidivism.

May 20 - Truthout

Water flowing through Glendale Narrows section of Los Angeles River in Glendale, California with a concrete bridge, power lines, and hills in background.

Los Angeles County Making Progress in Stormwater Capture

During this “super year” of storms, L.A. County has successfully captured 96 billion gallons of stormwater which is enough to meet the needs of about 2.4 million people a year.

May 20 - Los Angeles Times

Aerial Texas Hill Country at sunset, with an aerial view of a highway interchange and Interstate 35 in Austin, Texas.

The True Cost of Texas Highways

An explainer of the monetary, environmental, and social costs of exuberant road building.

May 20 - KERA News

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.