Thousands evacuated as river dams break in central Michigan

Rapid rising waters overtake dams in mid- Michigan, forcing thousands from their homes and causing unprecedented damage. Edenville Dam, Sanford dam had failed the keep rushing waters under control. All the water headed towards the midland area into the Tittabawassee river which will eventually flow to the Saginaw River. City leaders are calling this a five-hundred-year flooding event which means this flood is rare and dangerous.

During these unprecedented months of everyone to be told to stay home people of Michigan living near the banks of the river are asked to leave their homes. The government is taking precautions to also avoid the spread of the coronavirus as these people are being evacuated and kept at shelters.


Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Midland County and urged residents threatened by the flooding to find a place to stay with friends or relatives or to seek out one of several shelters that opened across the county “In the next 12 to 15 hours, downtown Midland could be under approximately 9 feet of water,” the governor said. “We are anticipating a historic high-water level.” Emergency responders went door to door to warn the residents and help for the successful evacuation. This is the most unexpected and out of the blue flood ever to come in Michigan.

The Dow Chemical Company is an American multinational chemical corporation headquartered in Midland, Michigan, United States, and a subsidiary of Dow Inc. The company is among the three largest chemical producers in the world. Dow manufactures plastics, chemicals, and agricultural products. Floodwaters from the ongoing deluge in Midland County have mixed with containment ponds at the vast Dow chemical plant in Midland, although the situation does not pose harm to people or the environment, the company said Wednesday.


Dow said it implemented a flood preparedness plan at its Midland chemical manufacturing and research facility, which included the “safe shutdown of operating units on-site” and evacuation of all but essential staff. Later that day, company officials said floodwaters had mixed with an on-site pond used for stormwater and brine system/groundwater remediation.

Dow Chemical has activated its emergency operations centre and will be adjusting operations as a result of current flood stage conditions, spokeswoman Rachelle Schikorra said in an email. “Dow Michigan Operations is working with its tenants and Midland County officials and will continue to closely monitor the water levels on the Tittabawassee River,” Schikorra said.

In 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission revoked the license of the company that operated the Edenville Dam due to non-compliance issues that included spillway capacity and the inability to pass the most severe flood reasonably possible in the area. The Edenville Dam, which was built in 1924, was rated in the 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. Governor Whitmer said “we are looking at every legal option we
can. People who knew this could happen will be held responsible.” There were 19 high hazard dams in unsatisfactory or poor conditions in Michigan in 2018, ranking 20th among the 45 states and Puerto Rico for which The Associated Press obtained condition assessments.

Flood warnings in Michigan were issued following widespread rainfall of 4 to 7 inches since Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Heavy runoff pushed rivers higher. The Tittabawassee River was at 30.5 feet and rising Tuesday night – flood stage is 24 feet. It was expected to crest Wednesday morning at a record of about 38 feet.


President Trump Sends FEMA to Michigan as Flood Dislocates Thousands of people and showed support to Michigan which is ranked seventh in cases of Covid-19 and fourth in the number of deaths. Michigan is ranked seventh in cases of Covid-19 and fourth in the number of deaths. Environmental Protection Agency is working closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal and state agencies to help the people of the Midland
area recover from the flood in these difficult times.

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