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.”
.@GovWhitmer declared a state of emergency for @midlandcountymi after the Edenville & Sanford Dams breached. “If you have not evacuated the area, do so now and get somewhere safe,” said Gov. Whitmer. “This is unlike anything we’ve seen in Midland County." https://t.co/hMmN5QBdlQ https://t.co/oC3YzKv8Ls
— Michigan.gov (@migov) May 20, 2020
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.
A Flood Warning is in effect along the Tittabawassee River in Midland Co. due to the failure of the Edenville and Sanford dams. The gauge site at Midland exceeded the previous record stage of 33.89’ at approximately 5:30am. Life-threatening flooding continues today. #miwx pic.twitter.com/ddr3b4arWA
— NWS Detroit (@NWSDetroit) May 20, 2020
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.