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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    10,000 people evacuated after 2 Michigan dams fail

    10,000 people evacuated after 2 Michigan dams fail, governor declares state of emergency for county

    MAY 19, 2020 / 10:34 PM / AP

    Two breached dams caused by several days of rainfall and rising water on Tuesday forced the evacuation of about 10,000 people in mid-Michigan, where the governor said one downtown could be "under approximately 9 feet of water" by morning.

    Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Midland County following the dam's failure.


    "If you have not evacuated the area, do so now and get somewhere safe," she said Tuesday night. "This is unlike anything we've seen in Midland County."


    The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for locations along the Tittabawassee River after the breach at the Edenville Dam in Midland County, about 140 miles north of Detroit.

    "Extremely dangerous flash flooding is ongoing along the Tittabawassee River in Midland county due to catastrophic dam failures at the Edenville and Sanford dams," the weather service said on its website, noting that anyone near the river should seek higher ground immediately, be prepared for immediate evacuations, and not drive into flooded roadways.

    "This flooding will continue all along the length of the river in Midland county, and possibly extending into Saginaw county where a Flash Flood Watch is also in effect."


    "In the next 12 to 15 hours, downtown Midland could be under approximately 9 feet of water. We are anticipating an historic high water level," Whitmer said.


    Emergency responders went door-to-door early Tuesday morning warning residents living near the Edenville Dam of the rising water. Some residents were able to return home, only to be told to leave again following the dam's breach.


    The evacuations include the towns of Edenville, Sanford and parts of the city of Midland, which has 42,000 people, according to Selina Tisdale, spokeswoman for Midland County.


    "People are communicating well and looking after each other and their loved ones," Tisdale said. "We're heartbroken for those with lots of home and property damage."


    The evacuations in Michigan followed days of heavy rains in parts of the Midwest that also brought flooding to Chicago and other parts of Illinois, Ohio and other states.


    "We were back at home and starting to feel comfortable that things were calming down," said Catherine Sias, who lives about one mile from the Edenville Dam and left home early Tuesday morning. "All of a sudden we heard the fire truck sirens going north toward the dam."


    Sias, 45, said emergency alerts then began coming on her cell phone and people started calling to make sure they were safe.


    "While packing, there were tons of police and fire trucks going up and down the roads," she added. "As far as I know, all of our neighbors got out."


    M-30, the state highway trunkline that's also the main road through Edenville and the route Sias was using to evacuate, was backed up with vehicles.


    While driving, she saw the rushing Tittabawassee River. "It was very dramatic, very fast and full of debris," she said.


    Edenville Dam holds back Wixom Lake.

    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.


    Dow Chemical Co. has activated its emergency operations center and will be adjusting operations as a result of current flood stage conditions, spokeswoman Rachelle Schikorra said in an email.


    "Dow Michigan Operations is working with its tenants and Midland County officials and will continue to closely monitor the water levels on the Tittabawassee River," Schikorra said.


    Earlier, Midland County 911 sent out a series of alerts saying the Edenville and Sanford dams were at risk of failing.


    Midland County Emergency Management later said that the dams were "structurally sound." It said water flowing through the dam spillgates couldn't be controlled, however, so evacuation measures remained in place.


    In 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission revoked the license of the company that operated the Edenville Dam due to non-compliance issues that included spillway capacity and the inability to pass the most severe flood reasonably possible in the area.


    The Edenville Dam, which was built in 1924, was rated in unsatisfactory condition in 2018 by the state. The Sanford Dam, which was built in 1925, received a fair condition rating.


    Both dams are in the process of being sold.


    There were 19 high hazard dams in unsatisfactory or poor condition in Michigan in 2018, ranking 20th among the 45 states and Puerto Rico for which The Associated Press obtained condition assessments.


    Two area schools had been opened Tuesday morning after the initial evacuation, but people who had been at one of the schools left by early afternoon.


    Red Cross worker Tom Restgate. who had been helping residents of the area seek shelter from the threat of rising waters was still at one of the schools when he received an alert over his cellphone that "the dam ... it breached."


    Heavy rains also caused flooding in parts of northwestern Indiana, including Crown Point — the Lake County seat — where about seven inches fell over the weekend.


    Floodwaters swelled quickly on Sunday when one inch of rain fell within 15 minutes, swamping streets and sending water into basements and homes, including Mayor David Uran's residence.


    Those waters receded Monday, but Uran and many other residents were continuing to clean up the watery mess on Tuesday, said Uran's chief of staff, Greg Falkowski.


    "He got between 2 and 3 feet in his basement, so that's what he's working on right now," Falkowski said Tuesday afternoon.


    In Chicago, water that flooded some areas downtown was receding on Tuesday, but Larry Langford, a fire department spokesman, said that he did not expect power to be restored at the iconic Willis Tower for days because the rains caused the building's subbasements to fill with as much as 25 feet of water. The building was closed to tenants and visitors.


    Flood warnings in Michigan were issued following widespread rainfall of up to 4 inches since Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Heavy runoff pushed rivers higher.


    "A lot of the rainfall came and hit the Saginaw Valley over the last 48 hours," meteorologist Andrew Arnold said Tuesday morning. "For the most part, the rain is over."


    The weather system was moving into Indiana, Ohio, parts of Illinois and the Tennessee Valley, Arnold said.


    More flooding was forecast for parts of the Tittabawassee River, which was at 26.5 feet Tuesday morning. It was expected to crest Wednesday morning at about 30 feet. Flood stage is 24 feet.


    Just to the north in Gladwin County, the weather service issued a flash flood warning for the Cedar River below the Chappel Dam. Other parts of the state saw isolated flooding following heavy rains in recent days.

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/michiga...ed-2020-05-19/
    Last edited by JohnDoe2; 05-20-2020 at 12:42 AM.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
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    Money for refugees, TPS, illegal aliens, but NO money to repair our Dams or infrastructure!!!!

    Defund the ONE BILLION of our money going to churches facilitating their human trafficking!

    Shut these programs down now! We need to rebuild our entire country.

    And shut off the foreign aid. We are not the piggy bank for the entire world.

    We are going into hurricane season...no more refugees, no illegals, get these people off our soil. They cost us BILLIONS!
    TO BECOME AN AMERICAN YOU MUST CHANGE YOUR VALUES ...NOT YOUR LOCATION

    STAY HOME AND BUILD AMERICA ON YOUR SOIL

  3. #3
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    These dams were privately owned so tax money probably shouldn't be used for them.
    --------------------------


    Before Residents Can Return Home After Michigan Dam ...

    weather.com › news › news › 2020-05-20-michigan-dam...

    4 hours ago - Heavy rains caused two dams in Michigan to fail. ... Tuesday night after the Edenville dam collapsed and the Sanford dam, 7 miles downstream, ... and controversy has surrounded the privately owned dams for several years.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
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    Rated unsatisfactory by the State but nothing done about it? No fines, no order to repair it, no lawsuits!

    Nothing was done about it, just let it burst and now OUR tax dollars are going to pay to repair the damaged homes and destruction this has caused.
    TO BECOME AN AMERICAN YOU MUST CHANGE YOUR VALUES ...NOT YOUR LOCATION

    STAY HOME AND BUILD AMERICA ON YOUR SOIL

  5. #5
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Aging Dams, Changing Climate: A Dangerous Mix

    Bob Henson · May 20, 2020, 12:08 PM EDT

    Above: An aerial view of floodwaters flowing from the Tittabawassee River into the lower part of downtown Midland on May 20, 2020 in Midland, Michigan. Thousands of residents have been ordered to evacuate after two dams in Sanford and Edenville collapsed causing water from the Tittabawassee River to flood nearby communities. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)


    The failure of two dams near Midland, Michigan, led to a flooding catastrophe Wednesday—one that highlighted the U.S. peril from the neglect of hundreds of aging dams coupled with the rise in intensified precipitation extremes from human-produced climate change. The collapse of the Edenville Dam on the Tittabawasse River, and the downstream overtopping of the Sanford Dam, led to massive flooding that swamped much of Midland (pop. 42,000) on Wednesday.


    About 10,000 people were hastily evacuated after the dam failures on Tuesday afternoon. As of 2 pm CDT, water levels appeared to have stabilized just over a foot above the previous record of 33.89’ (Sept. 30, 1986) on the Tittabawassee River gauge at Midland. A worker with the U.S. Geologic Survey quickly installed a temporary gauge on Wednesday morning in anticipation that the existing gauge might be knocked out of service by the unprecedented flooding.

    Water levels on the Tittabawassee River at Midland, Michigan, as of 1:15 pm CDT Wednesday, May 20, 2020. Water levels may fall just short of the predicted peak by Wednesday evening of 38 feet. (NOAA/NWS/AHPS)


    A major Dow Chemical plant in Midland said in a statement that “there were floodwaters commingling with on-site containment ponds” as of 10 am CDT Wednesday. The facility includes a 53-year-old nuclear research reactor that was already closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. See the weather.com article for more on Midland-area flood impacts.

    The FEMA catalog of flood policies by county shows that as of Feb. 29, 2020, there were only 337 federal flood insurance policies in effect for all of Midland County. Since only about 5% of U.S. flood policies are from the private sector, this implies that the vast majority of homeowners in Midland County are not flood-insured.


    “We need to do a much better job at communicating to U.S. homeowners—before, not during, events—that their standard home insurance policy does not cover flood damage,” tweeted Steve Bowen (Aon).

    The perilous state of aging, privately held U.S. dams

    A U.S. Corps of Engineers database, the National Inventory of Dams, shows that the Edenville and Sanford dams were both built in 1925 and owned by Boyce Hydro Power (which also owns two other dams on the Tittabawasse River). Both the Edenville and Sanford dams were rated as “high hazard”, meaning that loss of human life is likely were the dam to fail.

    Most U.S. dams (about 56%) are privately owned, according to FEMA. That’s not the case for roads, bridges, sewers, and other vital infrastructure. “In general, very large dams are owned and regulated by the federal government,” notes FEMA, adding: “Given the diffuse nature of dam ownership versus regulation in the United States, it is apparent that dam safety and security are often not solely a federal, state or local issue.”

    A major analysis released by the Associated Press in November revealed the compromised state of many hundreds of U.S. dams. The AP found that 1688 high-hazard dams across 44 states and Puerto Rico were rated in poor or unsatisfactory condition.

    “Deaths from dam failures have declined since a series of catastrophic collapses in the 1970s prompted the federal and state governments to step up their safety efforts,” noted the analysis.

    “Yet about 1,000 dams have failed over the past four decades, killing 34 people, according to Stanford University’s National Performance of Dams Program.”


    The predominance of private ownership of U.S. dams complicates efforts to spur needed improvements. Boyce Power had been notified as far back as 1998 that the Edenville Dam’s spillway capacity needed to be increased to avoid failure, according to the Detroit News. In September 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission revoked the dam’s license to generate power but did not require it to make the specified improvements.

    A two-county authority agreed in January to buy the four dams and lakes owned by Boyce Power for $9.4 million, effective in 2022, with about $100 million for rehabilitation to be raised through a special tax district.

    The most infamous example of catastrophe involving a privately held U.S. dam occurred in 1889, when a dam below a private lake owned by a group of wealthy industrialists failed catastrophically just upstream from Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The resulting flood took at least 2208 lives, making it one of the deadliest weather disasters in U.S. history. (See Christopher Burt’s 2019 post in Category 6 for more on this calamity.)

    Sanford resident Clint Clark, 44, walks out into what was once the bottom of Wixom Lake after water washed out due to the failure of the Edenville Dam on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 in Edenville Township north of Midland, Michigan. (Jake May/The Flint Journal, MLive.com via AP)


    Extreme rains fueled the Michigan flood, and Midwest precipitation is increasing and intensifying with climate change

    This week’s dam failures in central Michigan came after two days of intense rainfall on the north side of a slow-moving cut-off low making its way from the Midwest to the Appalachians. Midland reported a 48-hour rainfall total on Monday and Tuesday of 4.79”, its third highest two-day total in 50 years of recordkeeping behind only 11.78” on Sept. 10-11, 1986, and 8.05” on Sept. 11-12, 1986 (both coming from the same multiday event that drove the previous record flood in Midland).

    With 12 days left in the month, Midland is just 1.35” away from its wettest May on record (7.32” in 2004).


    Although there have been some dry periods in 2020 across the Great Lakes states, it has been a wetter-than-average year thus far. This follows 2019, the wettest year on record from Michigan to the Dakotas, and 2018, which wasn’t far behind.

    The Central Lower Michigan climate division (Division 6) has seen a dramatic increase in overall precipitation over the last century, as shown below: the average yearly total has gone from about 28” at the turn of the 20th century to about 35” today.

    Annual precipitation since 1895 in the Central Lower Michigan climate division. (NOAA/NCEI)


    One of the recurring messages in decades of projections of human-produced climate change is that precipitation will tend to decrease in the subtropics and increase at northern midlatitudes.

    That’s exactly what is happening in central Michigan. What’s more, the intensity of multi-day downpours is rising in many parts of the world, including the United States, and the most-affected U.S. regions are the Midwest and Northeast, as noted by Climate Central.


    “Storm water management systems and other critical infrastructure in the Midwest are already experiencing impacts from changing precipitation patterns and elevated flood risks,” said the 2018 U.S. National Climate Assessment. In a message that rings out, the assessment added:

    “Infrastructure currently designed for historical climate conditions is more vulnerable to future weather extremes and climate change.”


    The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

    https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/ag...-dangerous-mix
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  6. #6
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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