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Emergency declaration issued after dam breach in Michigan

Posted at 11:33 PM, May 19, 2020

Residents of two Michigan counties have been ordered to evacuate after the breach of two dams, prompting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to declare a state of emergency for the area.

At 5:44 p.m. Tuesday, Midland County dispatch and emergency management reported that the Edenville Dam on the Tittabawassee River had collapsed, according to the National Weather Service.

Life-threatening flash flooding is moving through the area from the dam failures. 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. The National Weather Service warns that if you are living in low lying areas below the Edenville Dam, you should move to higher ground immediately. Also, do not attempt to drive across flooded roadways.

Just after 8:30 p.m., county dispatch said that failure of the Sanford Dam was imminent. By late Tuesday, the dam was breached. People down stream of the Sanford Dam were told to seek higher ground immediately because the impact of the situation could be deadly.

In response to the dam break, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an emergency declaration for Midland County.

"The State Emergency Operations Center is already activated and fully engaged in the response," according to a statement from the governor's office. "State officials from multiple departments have been on-site throughout the day. We will share additional information as it becomes available.”