'Life-threatening' flood submerges central MI city after two dams breached


A mid-Michigan dam that collapsed under heavy rains Tuesday, forcing the evacuation of thousands, had its license revoked in 2018 over concerns it could not handle big floods.

People living along two lakes and a river in mid-Michigan were rushing to evacuate after those dams breached following days of heavy flooding across parts of the Midwest.

Kaye said the flooding situation in Midland could worsen significantly if the Sanford Dam fails entirely.

Several images and videos have emerged on social media showing the progress of the flooding and some of the damage caused, while one clip captured the moment the Edenville dam failed.

Another clip, posted to Facebook by Monday by Sheri Gaborik Pawlowski, shows deep floodwater in the area of Billings Township off Wixom Lake, according to Storyful.

© Thomson Reuters Rising flood waters of the Tittabawassee River advance upon the city after the breach of two dams, Edenville and Sanford, in Midland, Michigan, U.S. May 20, 2020.

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Two rivers in MI, the Tittabawassee River in Midland and the Rifle River near Sterling, were in major flooding stage, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.

"We were back at home and starting to feel comfortable that things were calming down", said Catherine Sias, who lives about a mile from the Edenville Dam and first left home early Tuesday morning. "This is serious and it is time for people to take action".

"We are going to navigate this together, so please, to the best of your ability continue to wear a face covering when you go to a shelter or go stay with a friend or relative", she stated.

The warning is in effect until 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, and is for the Tittabawassee river from the Sanford Dam to the Chippawassee school area in East Central Midland County.

Midland County Dispatch sent out an evacuation notice at 7:09 PM tonight. She told people to evacuate the area around Midland, urging those in the flooding zones to get to a shelter. The Sanford Dam, which was built in 1925, received a fair condition rating. The Edenville Dam, built in 1924, was rated in unsatisfactory condition by MI in 2018 and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission revoked the license of its operator, The Associated Press reports. It said both dams were in the process of being sold.

Flood warnings in MI were issued following widespread rainfall of 4-7 inches (102-178mm) since Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. It was expected to crest Wednesday morning at a record of about 38 feet (11.6 meters).