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Whitmer: Midland County flooding is 'unlike anything we've ever seen before'

Posted at 11:46 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 23:47:00-04

Governor Gretchen Whitmer updated the state's response to flooding and dam conditions in Midland County.

Residents of Edenville and Sanford in Mid-Michigan were ordered to evacuate after the breach of two dams, prompting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to declare a state of emergency for the area.

Whitmer said the flooding is "incredibly damaging." Experts are describing the flooding as a "500-year" event.

"It's going to have a major impact on the community and the state for time to come," she said.

The water is expected to rise until 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Whitmer said the state is planning to be very aggressive about getting help from the federal partners. She plans to formally ask FEMA for support.

"This is an event unlike anything we've ever seen before," Whitmer said.

First responders and local emergency response officials, along with members of the Michigan National Guard and Michigan State Police, worked through the night to help get shelter, she said.

"If you are in an impacted area and have not done so yet, please get somewhere safe."

The Tittabawassee River in Midland is now discharging at 374,000 gallons of water per second, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

As of the latest numbers, the river is discharging at 50,600 cubic feet per second – more than four times the previous record.

Downtown Midland could be under nine feet of water – historic water levels from flash flooding – according to the governor.

Whitmer said that regarding the dams, state officials are reviewing every potential legal recourse.

"This is incredible damage that requires that we hold people responsible," she said.

No casualties have been reported.

So far, 10,000 people have been evacuated or are in the process of being evacuated, the Community Affairs Director for the City of Midland Selina Crosby Tisdale told 7 Action News Wednesday.

Those looking for up-to-date information about the flooding are asked to visit