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Dam Failure in Michigan Leads to State of Emergency and Evacuations

20 May 2020, 9:15 am

A State of Emergency has been declared in Midland County, Michigan after two dams failed on Tuesday, forcing about ten thousand residents to evacuate. The declaration released by Governer Gretchen Whitmer states, “Over the past several days parts of Michigan have experienced heavy rainfall. As a result, the Edenville and Sanford Dam structures along the Tittabawassee River in the county of Midland have failed. Residents in Edenville, the village of Sanford, and parts of the city of Midland, among other areas, are evacuating in the face of a rising surge.”

Governor Whitmer told residents, “This is unlike anything we’ve seen in Midland County. If you have a family member or loved one who lives in another part of the state, go there now. If you don’t, go to one of the shelters that have opened across the county.”

The list of shelters can be found on the Midland County Current Emergency page.

This comes after days of heavy rain pushed the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers in moderate and major flood stage. As of Wednesday morning, the Tittabawassee River had surpassed the historical maximum according to the National Weather Service in Detroit.

In a press conference, Whitmer said the downtown area of Midland could be under as much as nine feet of water by Wednesday. The current river forecast shows an expected crest sometime Wednesday afternoon or evening. The river is expected to remain in major flood stage through at least Friday.

According to the Associated Press, “The Edenville Dam, which was built in 1924, was rated in unsatisfactory condition in 2018 by the state. The Sanford Dam, which was built in 1925, received a fair condition rating. Both dams are in the process of being sold.”

So far, no injuries or deaths have been reported. This story will be updated as additional information becomes avialble.

About the author

Rob grew up in South Florida, where daily afternoon storms and hurricanes piqued his interest in meteorology early on. That interest was fostered by his teachers and his father, who one time brought him onto the roof of their home to watch a funnel cloud move through the Everglades several miles away. ... Load MoreYears of filmmaking and tv production in high school gradually pushed him toward broadcast meteorology at Florida State University, where he joined and eventually led the student run daily weather show. After graduating with a Bachelors of Science in Meteorology, he began his career at KESQ in Palm Springs, California before heading to KFSN in Fresno and WLOS in Asheville, North Carolina. He has covered a diverse array of extreme weather events, including haboobs and flash flooding in the desert, extreme snow in the Sierra, hurricanes, and Appalachian ice storms. He also enjoys telling stories and reporting about weather issues.

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