UPDATE: Gov. Whitmer urges Midland County residents to evacuate after multiple dams fail in the area


MIDLAND COUNTY, Mich (WLNS) – UPDATE (10:46 p.m.): The breached dams after several days of rainfall and rising water has forced the evacuation of about 10,000 people in central Michigan.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Midland County following the failures.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for locations along the Tittabawassee River after the breach at the Edenville Dam in Midland County.

The evacuations include the towns of Edenville, Sanford, and parts of the city of Midland, which has 42,000 people, according to Selina Tisdale, spokeswoman for Midland County.

The evacuations followed days of heavy rains in parts of the Midwest that also brought flooding to states like Illinois and Ohio, according to a report by CBS News.

Dow Chemical Co. has activated its emergency operations center 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.

UPDATE (10:28 p.m.): “Downtown Midland could be under approximately nine feet of water in the next 12 to 15 hours,” says Gov. Whitmer during a press conference, after multiple dams failed in the area.

UPDATE (10:02 p.m.): Today, Gov. Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Midland County after the Edenville and Sanford Dams breached.

“If you have not evacuated the area, do so now and get somewhere safe,” said Governor Whitmer. “This is unlike anything we’ve seen in Midland County. If you have a family member or loved one who lives in another part of the state, go there now. If you don’t, go to one of the shelters that have opened across the county. I want to thank the emergency responders, Michigan National Guard members, and the Michigan State Police on the ground helping residents evacuate. Stay safe, and take care of each other.”

Shelters have opened across Midland county and are available to residents who need a place to go. Shelters remain open until further notice at Midland High School, Meridian Junior High School, Bullock Creek High School, and the West Midland Family Center.

“We have remained engaged with Midland County officials as the situation has progressed,” said Capt. Kevin Sweeney, deputy state director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “We will continue to partner with the county to ensure they receive the needed resources to respond and recover from this incident.”

A number of street closures remain in effect throughout Midland County and the City of Midland. Residents are advised to obey all road closure signs and to stay clear of standing water, flooded areas, and floating debris.

Residents should not attempt to drive or walk through any standing water as well as take extra precautions around where electrical items may be submerged, according to advice from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor.

UPDATE (9:25 p.m.): Gov. Whitmer is scheduled to have a press conference regarding the Edenville Dam at 10:00 p.m. You will be able to see that press conference live on this page.

Tonight, Governor Gretchen Whitmer will provide an update regarding the state’s response to the evolving situation regarding dam conditions in Midland County and the resulting flooding, according to a press release from the Michigan State Police.

ORIGINAL STORY ( 9:21 p.m.): Residents in Edenville and Sanford have been told to immediately evacuate after a failure of the Edenville Dam.

Video Credit: Ryan Kaleto

The governor will issue an emergency declaration this evening to ensure state and local officials have the resources they need to respond. The State Emergency Operations Center is already activated and fully engaged in the response. State officials from multiple departments have been on-site throughout the day. We will share additional information as it becomes available.

Statement from Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Eastbound and westbound US-10 is between River Road and M-30 is closed due to water over the roadway, per the Michigan Department of Transportation Bay Region Twitter page.

The Tittabawassee River was over 29 inches in the early afternoon.

This story is developing and more information will be provided as it becomes available.

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