University Open, Recovery Underway in Wake of Flash Floods

By Mark Wilcox | Published

Assessment, cleanup and repairs are moving forward at Michigan Technological University in the aftermath of devastating flash floods in the western Upper Peninsula produced by torrential rains over the weekend.

The National Weather Service reports as much as seven inches of rain fell in the Copper Country between 11 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. Sunday, with the majority of rainfall occurring from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday. Roadways throughout the area washed out; homes and businesses were severely damaged or destroyed by mudslides, flooding and cave-ins.

University property and grounds were damaged, but there are no reported injuries on campus.

Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz expressed his admiration and appreciation for the Michigan Tech community and the people of Houghton County. “The outpouring of support, resources and offers to help has been humbling and comforting,” Mroz says. “It reminds us of what this community is made of—grit, determination and heart.”

Mroz says while the photos and video footage of the damage are unsettling, the University and community are on the mend. “We are transitioning from recovery to restoration,” he says, noting that University personnel—including the Incident Command Team (ICT), Facilities, and Information Technology, and many others—are working around the clock to ensure campus safety.

Because many roadways in the area remain closed or compromised, University officials advise employees who feel unsafe traveling to campus to use their best judgment when determining whether to return to work. The Houghton County Office of Emergency Measures is offering local road closure updates via local media.

Responding to the Storm and Aftermath

adult people sitting at square tables in a library some writing on notebooks
Staff who work in the Administration Building gather in the Van Pelt and Opie Library for an update on building assessment progress. 

As the rain was still falling early Sunday morning, the ICT mobilized to coordinate response efforts. Campus was closed Sunday and Monday, re-opening today. While classes have resumed, the Administration Building, which took the brunt of flooding, remains closed for assessment. The flooding also forced cancellation of the first week of Michigan Tech’s Summer Youth Program, which was set to begin Sunday afternoon. Plans concerning program resumption will be announced when available.

The nearly 150 University employees who work in the Administration Building met with University officials today to plan alternative work arrangements while the building remains closed.

University-wide updates will be posted on mtu.edu/alert.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.

Last Modified 1:40 PM July, 9 2018


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