Thousands evacuated as emergency declared after dams burst

A state of emergency has been declared after two dams burst in Michigan, forcing 10,000 people to evacuate.

State Governor Gretchen Whitmer triggered the measure for Midland due to fears of extreme flooding, warning parts of the county could be submerged under nine feet of water within hours.

Officials said two dams, Edenville and Sanford, had collapsed due to heavy rain in the past few days and people living nearby have been told to evacuate immediately.

An aerial view of flooding as water overruns Sanford Dam, Michigan
Image:An aerial view of flooding as water overruns Sanford Dam, Michigan
Floodwaters are seen along a street in downtown Sanford, Michigan
Image:Floodwaters are seen along a street in downtown Sanford, Michigan
Floodwaters overflow at Sanford Dam, Michigan
Image:Floodwaters overflow at Sanford Dam, Michigan

“In the next 12 to 15 hours, downtown Midland could be under approximately nine feet of water”, the governor told a news conference.

Around 3,500 homes and 10,000 people had been affected by the evacuation notices, Chairman of the Midland County Board of Commissioners Mark Bone said.

He said no injuries or deaths had been reported so far.

Residents were also urged to seek higher ground as far as possible from the Tittabawassee River.

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Floodwaters overflow at Sanford Dam, Michigan
Image:Floodwaters overflow at Sanford Dam, Michigan
Vehicles and signs are submerged in downtown Sanford, Michigan, after a nearby dam burst
Image:Vehicles and signs are submerged in downtown Sanford, Michigan, after a nearby dam burst
A flooded street in downtown Sanford
Image:A flooded street in downtown Sanford

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

A flash flood emergency has been issued in locations downstream of the failed dams, the NWS added.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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