In the midst of a national heath emergency, the last thing that America needs is another disaster – natural or not. Unfortunately, for the people of Michigan, that’s precisely what they’ve been handed this week.
On Tuesday, after several days of soaking rain, a number of major dams burst in The Wolverine State, putting tens of thousands of Americans into harm’s way.
Rapidly rising water overtook dams and forced the evacuation of about 10,000 people in central Michigan, where flooding struck communities along rain-swollen waterways and the governor said downtown Midland could be “under approximately 9ft of water” by Wednesday.
One of the dams, which the National Weather Service said saw “catastrophic” failures, had been under scrutiny by federal regulators since 1999.
The situation has the potential to turn ever-more serious.
By Wednesday morning, water that was several feet high covered some streets near the river in downtown Midland, including riverside parkland, and reaching a hotel and parking lots.
Michigan’s governor, Gretchen Whitmer, said downtown Midland, a city of 42,000, faced an especially serious flooding threat.
She called the event “devastating” on Wednesday at a briefing from Midland high school and said: “Experts are describing this as a 500-year event.”
Whitmer said she intended to ask the federal government formally for support, from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema).
Dow Chemical Company’s main plant sits on the city’s riverbank.
“In the next 12 to 15 hours, downtown Midland could be under approximately 9ft of water,” the governor said during a late Tuesday briefing. “We are anticipating an historic high water level.”
Twitter was ablaze with harrowing imagery after the disaster.
— UA News (@UrgentAlertNews) May 19, 2020
DAM BURST: Residents who live along two lakes and a river in Michigan urged to evacuate after dam fails following days of heavy flooding across parts of the Midwest. https://t.co/EwlVQl6Fdm pic.twitter.com/HfDKWkulDz
— ABC News (@ABC) May 20, 2020
Breaking: Video shows the moment Edenville dam collapsed in Midland County, Michigan. Residents in Sanford and Edenville are urged to evacuate immediately. pic.twitter.com/4mgTpoMdYJ
— PM Breaking News (@PMBreakingNews) May 20, 2020
We can only pray that Michigan will find a safe and swift solution to this disaster.
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