Edenville Dam breaks causing evacuations in mid-Michigan

A breached dam caused by several days of rainfall and rising water has forced the evacuation of about 10,000 people in mid-Michigan.

Edenville and Sanford residents have been told to evacuate after a dam failure in mid-Michigan Tuesday. Videos above courtesy of DUB PAETZ on YouTube.

People living along two lakes and a river in mid-Michigan are rushing to evacuate after a dam breached following days of heavy flooding across part of the Midwest. 

Video below courtesy of Adam J. Morris II on YouTube:

"To navigate this in the midst of a global pandemic is almost unthinkable," Whitmer said, before urging evacuees to wear PPE at shelters as they leave their homes. "But we are here, and to the best of our ability we are going to navigate this together."

"Please do not hesitate, go stay with a friend or relative and get to one of these shelters now. In the next 12 to 15 hours, downtown Midland could be under nine feet of water. We are anticipating a historic high water level," she said.

Two schools were opened for evacuees in the Midland area, about 140 miles north of Detroit, after the breach of Edenville Dam. The dam holds back Wixom Lake. 

Video below by Adam J Morris II on YouTube.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said that by Wednesday afternoon, downtown Midland could be under as much as nine feet of water.

Video below courtesy of DUB PAETZ on YouTube.

Officials also were watching the Sanford Dam south of Edenville. The city of Midland, which includes the main plant of Dow Chemical, sits on the banks of the Tittabawassee River about 8 miles away from that dam.

Photo courtesy of Twitter account @SportsMich

Twitter Account MIchSportsNow (@SportsMich) shared several photos of the flooding in downtown Midland Tuesday night.

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 at 1301 Eastlawn, 
  • Meridian Junior High School at 3475 N. Meridian Road,  
  • Bullock Creek High School at 1420 S. Badour,  
  • And the West Midland Family Center at 4011 W Isabella.

“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.” 

Those seeking more information on shelters, road closures, and updates, visit Midland911.org. 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, and should take extra precaution where electrical items may be submerged. 

Photos courtesy of Twitter account @SportsMich

National Weather Service tweet

Governor Gretchen Whitmer's office released a statement that an emergency declaration will be issued.

"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.”

On the Midland County police and fire Facebook page, the warning was posted of the imminent dam failure urging evacuations for residets that live along Sanford and Wixom lakes.

-The Associated Press contributed to this report.