“While the 1986 flood was a 100-year flood, what we’re looking at here is an event that is the equivalent of a 500-year flood. It’s something that is extremely rare, extremely catastrophic and quite dangerous.”
– Midland City Manager Brad Kaye
The Detroit Free Press reports that by the time you’re reading this, downtown Midland could be under 9 feet of water as the result of two dam breaches on the Tittabawasee River:
Urging residents to evacuate and saying downtown Midland could be under 9 feet of water by Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer late Tuesday declared a state of emergency for Midland County after the Edenville and Sanford dams breached.
Speaking during a press conference late Tuesday, Whitmer said parts of the city of Midland, the village of Sanford, Edenville Township and Dow Chemical had been or were being evacuated. She said officials were working to evacuate residents in Tittabawassee, Thomas and Saginaw townships on Tuesday evening.
…Whitmer said at a 10 p.m. briefing Tuesday that state officials expected the worst over the next 12-15 hours with as much as 9 feet of water in downtown Midland, the largest city in the area with about 40,000 residents and the home to Dow Chemical.
“This is unlike anything we’ve seen before… but this is truly a historic event that’s playing out in the midst of another historic event,” Whitmer said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic which has led to stay-at-home orders throughout the state and the deaths of more than 5,000 people.
Several dams upstream of Midland along the Tittabawassee had either been breached or were releasing water uncontrollably after 4 to 7 inches of rain fell Sunday and Monday, including the Edenville and Sanford dams on Tuesday, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people in mid-Michigan.