Midland County emergency declaration expanded to include Arenac, Gladwin, and Saginaw Counties

An emergency declaration originally for Midland County has now been expanded to several neighboring counties, including Arenac, Gladwin, and Saginaw. 

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the expansion in an executive order issued Friday. 

"Thousands of residents in these communities have been impacted by the widespread damage this flooding has caused," said Governor Whitmer. "I have declared an emergency to provide much-needed assistance and have added Arenac, Gladwin, and Saginaw counties to the declaration to ensure access to critical resources. I want to thank emergency responders in the region for helping to evacuate residents. Let's all stay safe, and take care of each other." 

The 500-year flood hit the counties hard on Tuesday night when the Tittabawassee River flooded into Wixom Lake and burst two dams. The water is starting to recede in Sanford but the shock is lingering in the community.

RELATED: Wixom Lake in Midland County is virtually empty after two catastrophic dam failures

Katrina McLaughlin lives on a hill next to the river and thought her home would stay out of harm's way. The floodwaters, however, were relentless.

"It was a newly renovated basement that's lost. I don't even know what to feel. We don't even have it half as bad as our friends and families and that's what's devastating," she said.

McLaughlin says the waters rise every year but she never expected what happened this year. She said her home insurance won't cover any of the damage.

RELATED: Everything we know about the 500-year flood that devastated Midland and surrounding communities

"Insurance here - it's a flood and they're saying basically people don't have flood insurance. Were out of the flood zone and so things aren't covered. Nothings covered," 

She also owns a building in downtown Sanford, which is under several feet of water and is also destroyed. 

Her and her family and friends are salvaging whatever they can by drying out old photos and clothes.

Her neighbor, Andria Zuccalas, was spared the damage but is dealing with a bit of guilt that her home and possessions are okay while her community is not.

"My heart breaks for everyone it's really hard to see all the places we go in town are gone, the people we've come to know and love are heartbroken their basements are flooded their houses are flooded," Zuccalas said.

The Sanford community resilient and pushing to get through it the only way they know how: together.

"There are donation spots all over town and people are just helping each other I see everyone converging even during these hard times where we have to keep our distance from each other people are doing everything they can to come together and help," Zuccalas said.