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Experts describe flooding as "500-year" event

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Posted at 1:54 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 13:54:28-04

MIDLAND, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer said there are no casualties at this time following a breach of the Edenville Dam after heavy rains hit Mid-Michigan Tuesday night.

The governor said about 10,000 people were able to evacuate the area safely.

Massive damage has hit the Midland area as a result of the flooding. Curtis Road bridge in Midland collapsed and thousands are without power.

"It's devastating," Gov. Whitmer said. "We know that this water is incredibly damaging."

The governor said the flooding will have a major impact on the Midland community and the state. She said she will be talking with FEMA Wednesday in hopes they will be able to provide relief to the state quickly, she said she will have more information on the status with FEMA in the coming days.

The Edenville Dam, located north of Midland, was not the only dam in Mid-Michigan to fail. The Sanford Dam, located south of Edenville and the Smallwood Dam also failed due to the heavy rains and flooding.

Governor Whitmer said the state of Michigan is reviewing every potential legal recourse available due to the breach of the dams and declared a State of Emergency for Midland County Tuesday night.

"This incredible damage requires that we hold people responsible," the governor said.

The Michigan National Guard is providing assistance in Midland. The Michigan State Emergency Operations Center said about 130 soldiers and more than 40 specialized vehicles arrived to the area.

The National Guard is using equipment such as Light Medium Tactical Vehicles which are capable of driving through high water.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has also sent officers to help evacuate residents and pets.

During the press conference, officials said the flooding is supposed to continue until around 8 p.m. The governor said if you are in an area that is highly-impacted to get somewhere safe.

These shelters remain open until further notice at the following locations:

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

The governor urged residents looking for information not to call 911. For more information, visit the City of Midland website, or visit the city's Facebook page.

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