May 20, 2020 - Science

10,000 evacuated in Michigan as 2 dams burst amid rising floodwaters

Arenac County Sheriff's Department rescue people from a flooded home

Arenac County Sheriff's Department said close to 40 residents were evacuated on Tuesday. Photo: Arenac County Sheriff's Department

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency in a Michigan county after two dams failed following what one official described as "catastrophic" flooding from heavy rain on Tuesday night.

Details: Whitmer said in a statement the Edenville and Sanford dams in Midland County breached. "In the next 12–15 hours, downtown Midland could be under approximately 9 feet of water," Whitmer told a news conference late Tuesday. Authorities told a news briefing they were evacuating some 10,000 people.

  • "We are anticipating a historic high water level," said City of Midland manager Brad Kaye. He told the briefing late Tuesday what was unfolding was "catastrophic" and "equivalent of a 500-year flood."
  • The National Weather Service tweeted that a Flash Flood Emergency was in place in Midland County until 7:30am Wednesday.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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