Emergency declaration issued after dam breach in MI

Michigan governor declares emergency after dams collapse

A flood warning remains in effect for the Tittabawassee, from Midland downstream to Saginaw, and the forecast does not show relief for Midland. I want to thank the emergency responders, Michigan National Guard members, and the Michigan State Police on the ground helping residents evacuate. The Tittabawassee River flows south from the two lakes, through Midland and to Saginaw, where it connect with the Saginaw River and Shiawassee River in the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge.

Just after 8:30 p.m., county dispatch said that failure of the Sanford Dam was imminent. Dow Chemical Co.'s main plant sits on the city's riverbank.

The governor said downtown Midland could be "under approximately 9 feet of water" by morning.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday declared an emergency for Midland county after two dams breached and on expectations of extreme flooding. She encouraged people to do their best to take precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus, such as wearing a face covering and observing social distancing "to the best of your ability". Midland County Central Dispatch stated that Midland Mall, located at 6800 Eastman Ave., as well as Midland High School, located at 1301 Eastlawn Drive, are available as emergency shelters.

The state had already experienced such intense flooding on Tuesday that people who lived in the area were forced to evacuate after the breach caused it to fail. The evacuations include the towns of Edenville, Sanford and parts of Midland, according to Selina Tisdale, spokeswoman for Midland County. The dam holds back Wixom Lake.

"A very slowly moving storm system and cold front pushing through the Midwest has produced anywhere from 100 to 200 mm [3 inches to 8 inches] of rainfall in just the past week from the western Great Lakes through northern in and into southern Missouri", AccuWeather senior meteorologist Jack Boston said.


Life-threatening flash flooding is moving through the area from the dam failures.

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.

There were 19 high hazard dams in unsatisfactory or poor condition in MI in 2018, ranking 20th among the 45 states and Puerto Rico for which The Associated Press obtained condition assessments.

The heaviest rain over the next several days will be from the Ohio Valley into the western Carolinas where some areas could see close to a half a foot of rain as significant flooding is forecast there. Heavy runoff pushed rivers higher. The flood stage is 24 feet, and the river is expected to crest at 30.6 feet early Wednesday before levels start to subside over the next couple of days. If drivers are caught going around a barricade, it can result in a traffic violation with a substantial fine, according to road commission officials. The building was closed to tenants and visitors.

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