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posted by martyb on Wednesday May 20 2020, @01:19PM   Printer-friendly

2 Dams Fail in Michigan, Forcing Thousands to Evacuate :

Severe flooding struck central Michigan on Wednesday after two dams were breached and days of heavy rainfall, forcing the evacuation of thousands of residents and prompting officials to warn of life-threatening danger.

The failures on Tuesday of the Edenville Dam and the Sanford Dam, about 140 miles northwest of Detroit, led the National Weather Service to issue a flash flood warning for areas near the Tittabawassee River, with downstream effects expected from Midland to Saginaw overnight. Residents in nearby towns, including Edenville, Sanford and Midland, were evacuated.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said at a news conference on Tuesday that downtown Midland, with a population of more than 41,000, could be under nine feet of water by Wednesday morning.

[...] The Tittabawassee River was expected to crest at 38 feet by 8 a.m. Wednesday, more than four feet higher than its record of 34 feet set in 1986. The flood stage is at 24 feet.

Dow Chemical Company, based in Midland, has activated its emergency operations center and will be adjusting operations, Rachelle Schikorra, a spokeswoman, told The Associated Press.

According to Detroit Free Press:

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.


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  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @01:36PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @01:36PM (#996872)

    But don't be too quick to discount jihadi terrorism. Jihadis hate dams.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by aiwarrior on Wednesday May 20 2020, @01:43PM (1 child)

      by aiwarrior (1812) on Wednesday May 20 2020, @01:43PM (#996875) Journal

      Yeah with all the money spent to go to the other side of the world to kill and be killed over literally nothing, dams burst like a broken country...

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday May 20 2020, @02:31PM

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday May 20 2020, @02:31PM (#996899)

        Oil isn't nothing, oil is what keeps the oiligarchy rolling in gold - if they didn't have their wealth they'd be such hollow shells of nothingness they'd kill themselves - the Arabian adventures are really a fight for survival for them.

        --
        Україна досі не є частиною Росії. https://www.newsweek.com/russian-state-tv-ukraine-war-dirty-bomb-putin-1754428
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by bzipitidoo on Wednesday May 20 2020, @03:54PM

      by bzipitidoo (4388) on Wednesday May 20 2020, @03:54PM (#996940) Journal

      Maybe there were 5G capable cell phone towers on top of the upstream dam?

    • (Score: 2) by driverless on Thursday May 21 2020, @03:21AM

      by driverless (4770) on Thursday May 21 2020, @03:21AM (#997232)

      Naah, it's anti-porn crusaders who are offended by the fact that it's the Tits'n'Assee River that's reported to be in flood.

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by rufty on Wednesday May 20 2020, @02:02PM (4 children)

    by rufty (381) on Wednesday May 20 2020, @02:02PM (#996880)

    Well dam...

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday May 20 2020, @04:30PM (2 children)

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday May 20 2020, @04:30PM (#996959) Journal

      Don't worry, we'll get Trump's promised infrastructure bill any day now...

      It's not like he would promise something then not deliver, right?

      • (Score: 0, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @04:55PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @04:55PM (#996976)

        Sure -- it'll get approved in Congress right after the Democrats finish giving stimulus money to illegal aliens, the WHO, and major Chinese donors.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 21 2020, @01:20AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 21 2020, @01:20AM (#997186)

          -1 interesting

          it's so boring it repels any interest in it. it has no further qualities.

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @06:23PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @06:23PM (#997030)

      The wall was in the wrong place, so His Orange Utan moved it to the southwest.

  • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @02:07PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @02:07PM (#996885)

    And on-site inspections suspended because of Covid-19? Just like nursing homes have been without oversight for 2 months now in other states?

    I am somewhat surprised that LP Michigan has terrain that rises up to the level that can support a dam.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @02:30PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @02:30PM (#996898)

      I am somewhat surprised that LP Michigan has terrain that rises up to the level that can support a dam.

      You can thank Trump for that. MAGA!

    • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Wednesday May 20 2020, @03:45PM

      by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 20 2020, @03:45PM (#996936)

      > And on-site inspections suspended because of Covid-19

      I hope you have some evidence to support your assertion that this has anything at all to do with Covid-19, AC.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @02:09PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @02:09PM (#996886)

    Correction: make it two dams at a time.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @02:15PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @02:15PM (#996890)

    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.

    What exactly did this do? They revoked the license, so presumably the company couldn't operate the dam any more. And the dam failed. I'm certain there is more to this, but it sounds like what needed to happen was the company should have been forced to fix the dam versus stop operating it. Or drain it. Or something other than sending them home without a license...

    • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @02:31PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @02:31PM (#996900)

      Maybe you could, you know, read up on it or something?? I bet there's even an article about it on SN somewhere.

    • (Score: 2) by toddestan on Thursday May 21 2020, @10:21PM

      by toddestan (4982) on Thursday May 21 2020, @10:21PM (#997619)

      As far as I can tell, the license that was revoked only had to do with company's ability to use the dam to generate electricity, and didn't affect anything else about the operation of the dam. Kind of seems a bit strange. I don't disagree with hitting them in the pocketbook after repeated unaddressed violations, but if the dam is not safe it's not like turning off the turbines is going to make it any safer.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday May 20 2020, @02:27PM (12 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday May 20 2020, @02:27PM (#996897)

    Scariest thing to me about the Hurricane Rita evacuation was being stuck in an eternal traffic jam downstream from a big ass dam - that could have gone so very very poorly...

    --
    Україна досі не є частиною Росії. https://www.newsweek.com/russian-state-tv-ukraine-war-dirty-bomb-putin-1754428
    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @02:33PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @02:33PM (#996901)

      that could have gone so very very poorly...

      But fast.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @02:41PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @02:41PM (#996904)

      Scariest thing to me about the Hurricane Katrina evacuation was being stuck downstream from a big ass dam - that could have gone so very very poorly...

      FTFY.... oh nvm

      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday May 20 2020, @03:57PM

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday May 20 2020, @03:57PM (#996942)

        Interestingly enough, we had coincidentally evacuated for Katrina with prior plans - so when Rita hit we were just driving back to the same place we hung out during the Katrina strike - but waited too long to evac - should have left a day earlier, but a day earlier the forecast was for Rita to be a clean miss to the West - instead of the clean miss to the East she ended up being for Houston - all through the panic the forecast was for a direct hit more or less pumping up Galveston bay +30'.

        --
        Україна досі не є частиною Росії. https://www.newsweek.com/russian-state-tv-ukraine-war-dirty-bomb-putin-1754428
    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday May 20 2020, @03:04PM (8 children)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 20 2020, @03:04PM (#996917) Homepage Journal

      Ehhhh - I survived Maine, when 5 dams broke on the same day. 2 dams should be a breeze, lol.

      OK, to be fair, none of those dams were very big, but five did give way in the aftermath of a hurricane torrential downpour.

      --
      "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @03:09PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @03:09PM (#996918)

        Ehhhh - I survived Maine, when 5 dams broke on the same day. 2 dams should be a breeze, lol.

        Ehhhh - luckily, the number of dams still standing are finite, after a while all of them will be down. One needs only to survive until then.

      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday May 20 2020, @03:53PM

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday May 20 2020, @03:53PM (#996939)

        We had been stuck in traffic since 6:45am, had traveled all of about 75 miles in the previous 14 hours, and was stopped dead just under the Lake Conroe dam on the 105 with nothing better to do than read the contour lines on the map and calculate how many hours remained before the hurricane overtook us at present rates of travel... Luckily, around midnight things broke up and we started making normal 50mph progress inland - then we ran out of gas...

        --
        Україна досі не є частиною Росії. https://www.newsweek.com/russian-state-tv-ukraine-war-dirty-bomb-putin-1754428
      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @04:48PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @04:48PM (#996969)

        On a related note, Trump threatens Michigan over mail in votes, whatever happened to the "states rights" party?

        Keep buckling for fascism, totally doesn't make you look stupid.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @05:53PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @05:53PM (#997002)

        Sweet! Not all conservatives are lost to the current madness.

        Bill Kristol, a prominent conservative Trump critic, said on Twitter that his group, Defending Democracy Together, was buying airtime in Michigan ahead of the president’s visit for a new advertisement in defense of safe and secure voting.

        “Today President Trump threatened to harm the people of Michigan because their elected officials are making it easier for them to vote,” Mr. Kristol tweeted.

        Defending Trump makes you a traitor since he is working hard to destroy our democracy, violate state's rights, and make himself a dictator with "absolute authority." I wish I was making this stuff up, but go ahead Runaway, keep blaming the dems while your boy keeps being blatantly fascist.

        • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Thursday May 21 2020, @12:20AM (2 children)

          by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 21 2020, @12:20AM (#997162) Journal

          When motherloving Kristol is (the closest thing to...) a voice of reason and compassion in the party, they've sunk so low they have to look up to see a snake's gut in a wagon rut. And salute it.

          --
          I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
          • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 21 2020, @12:50AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 21 2020, @12:50AM (#997174)

            I knew nothing about him but that sounds about right. We can be happy then, if someone that bad is calling out Trump then there is actually hope for our future. I've been worried that conservatives would en masse goose step us into disaster, but 2020 is looking like Trump will suffer similarly to Clinton. The only thing keeping him appearing relevant is the sheer number of bots, shills, and clueless idiots like Runaway :)

            BTW so glad you pushed Runaway into admitting he's a homophobe, still not quite sure why he did. I guess that isn't as bad as the R-word yet lol. Also he admitted his kids don't talk to him. I almost feel bad trashing him so I have to remind myself how gleeful he was about the chance to murder him some libs and support shitstains like Trump.

            • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Azuma Hazuki on Thursday May 21 2020, @01:07PM

              by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 21 2020, @01:07PM (#997356) Journal

              Being a homophobe is way, way far down the list of his sins. I don't care that he hates queer people; all it means is I do better with women than he does, and he's eatin' his cirrhotic old liver over it, LOL! And the fixation on gay men doing butt stuff he's got is really, really telling. IMO this is a closeted bisexual with some serious psych issues.

              Don't feel bad about trashing him. He's voluntarily shredded his human card, and he'll be dead of circulatory issues in ~5 years anyway if I haven't missed the tells :)

              --
              I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @09:38PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @09:38PM (#997105)

        Strangely, even this is all about Runaway. OK, Boomer!

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by hemocyanin on Wednesday May 20 2020, @03:14PM (1 child)

    by hemocyanin (186) on Wednesday May 20 2020, @03:14PM (#996921) Journal

    Why is it that major news outlets can't afford more than a single 320x240 pixels image? Anyway, if you want to see aerial video of what this looks like, without any useless talking media heads or politicians: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ig5vmW8jcm4 [youtube.com]

    Some interesting points:
    4:40 the roadway leading to a bridge is washed out leaving a gaping chasm.
    6:30 a dam with the water levels in front and behind it equal
    Following that, houses up to their roofs in wate.

  • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @03:20PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @03:20PM (#996923)

    Misread title, snark all prepared, was disappointed.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @04:19PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @04:19PM (#996955)

      Best start the mental prep now then ;)

  • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Wednesday May 20 2020, @04:00PM (11 children)

    by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 20 2020, @04:00PM (#996943)

    I found this article:

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/233107559_The_Changing_Geography_of_the_US_Water_Budget_Twentieth-Century_Patterns_and_Twenty-First-Century_Projections [researchgate.net]

    It looks like e.g. precipitation and soil moisture have risen a few % around great lakes in 20th century. You can choose whether to believe forecast for another 10 % increase in 21st century.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by NateMich on Wednesday May 20 2020, @04:16PM (6 children)

      by NateMich (6662) on Wednesday May 20 2020, @04:16PM (#996951)

      Lake levels have been super high here for the last couple of years, but a couple of days ago we had an incredible amount of rain. Certainly the most water I've ever seen sitting in the yards in my neighborhood. My sump was running for like 3 hours straight, and I'm glad I bought a super size pump a few years ago (the cheapo ones from Home Depot or ACE fail all the time because they rust).

      That Sanford dam failed I'm not surprised one bit. That place always freaked me out when you're on I-75 driving right over the lake. Also, I'm pretty sure they had some flooding there last year as well, but obviously nothing like this.

      • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Wednesday May 20 2020, @04:32PM (5 children)

        by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 20 2020, @04:32PM (#996961)

        > a couple of days ago we had an incredible amount of rain.

        Sure, and the paper I linked gave average rainfall rather than some measure of "extreme" rainfall events. Nonetheless, one might naively expect that if average rainfall goes up, the number of "extreme" events goes up as well. Maybe someone can find a better reference.

        • (Score: 1) by hemocyanin on Wednesday May 20 2020, @05:03PM (4 children)

          by hemocyanin (186) on Wednesday May 20 2020, @05:03PM (#996979) Journal

          Nonetheless, one might naively expect that if average rainfall goes up, the number of "extreme" events goes up as well.

          Maybe. The average can go up because it gently rains more often too. Also, if the average was to rise, extreme events may become less likely really -- there's only so much water the atmosphere can hold and then it can hold no more -- this is why there are no rivers in the sky, so if in a worst case scenario the maximum atmospheric saturation was reach and it never stopped raining at the maximal torrential value, extreme events would fall to zero.

          • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Wednesday May 20 2020, @05:47PM

            by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 20 2020, @05:47PM (#996998)

            There is an article here describing various different estimators of the rainfall probability density function

            https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2015GL063238 [wiley.com]

            TL;DR - they say a power law is a good pdf to use, i.e. p(rainfall) = Normalisation*rainfall^k = N r^k

            I guess the mean of such a distribution is given by

            Integral (p) dr = (N/k)*r^(k+1)

            so the number of extreme events does follow the mean rainfall.

            I know nothing about meteorology!

          • (Score: 2) by dry on Thursday May 21 2020, @05:06AM (2 children)

            by dry (223) on Thursday May 21 2020, @05:06AM (#997279) Journal

            Meteorologists talk about atmospheric rivers https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_river [wikipedia.org] now and again around here. The most famous one is called the Pineapple Express https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pineapple_Express [wikipedia.org] as it comes from Hawaii and can dump up to 14 inches of rain in a day, one in 1862 dumped 8.5 feet.

            • (Score: 1) by hemocyanin on Thursday May 21 2020, @12:04PM (1 child)

              by hemocyanin (186) on Thursday May 21 2020, @12:04PM (#997342) Journal

              I get that -- what I'm talking about is an actual river -- not floating mists but water fish could live in. They don't exist in the sky because of gravity -- there is an upper limit to the amount of water air can hold at our gravity, pressure, temperature etc, and nothing will make it hold more. Meaning, there is some upper bound to the amount of rain physically possible and once that saturation event is reached, there will be no extreme rain because it would all be the maximal amount.

              • (Score: 2) by dry on Thursday May 21 2020, @03:08PM

                by dry (223) on Thursday May 21 2020, @03:08PM (#997404) Journal

                Some of these really do seem like a water fall from a sky river, but of course you're right in that there is a limit.

    • (Score: 2) by cmdrklarg on Wednesday May 20 2020, @08:24PM

      by cmdrklarg (5048) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 20 2020, @08:24PM (#997087)

      Anecdotally, it's been wetter the past few years in southern MN at least. The rivers and lakes in the area have been higher than usual. Last year was really wet, with record snow in February, and generally rainy weather in the spring.

      I imagine the rains that caused Michigan's woes went through here on Saturday-Sunday. I had a bit over 4 inches of rain at my house. Never rained very hard, but it was steady for a day.

      --
      Answer now is don't give in; aim for a new tomorrow.
    • (Score: 2) by canopic jug on Thursday May 21 2020, @12:56PM (2 children)

      by canopic jug (3949) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 21 2020, @12:56PM (#997351) Journal

      It's not just the increased rain. The state has a very large number of neglected [mlive.com] and, in some cases, abandoned dams. In 2018 there was an infrastructure report [bridgemi.com] which showed:

      • Almost 300 dams — or 12 percent — have a “high” or “significant” hazard potential rating.
      • About two-thirds of Michigan’s dams have reached their intended 50-year design life
      • Over the next five years, this number will grow to approximately 80 percent
      • There are 271 Michigan dams over 100 years old
      • Only 86 new dams have been built in the last 25 years
      • 90 percent of Michigan dam’s with a “high” hazard rating are more than 50 years old

      When you combine that lack of investment in infrastructure with increasing precipitation, the dams are going to fail.

      --
      Money is not free speech. Elections should not be auctions.
      • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Thursday May 21 2020, @02:56PM (1 child)

        by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 21 2020, @02:56PM (#997396)

        You want infrastructure? Might have to pay some taxes!

        • (Score: 2) by canopic jug on Thursday May 21 2020, @03:28PM

          by canopic jug (3949) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 21 2020, @03:28PM (#997411) Journal

          That's it in a nutshell. They haven't collected taxes in decades on corporations or even wealthy individuals.

          --
          Money is not free speech. Elections should not be auctions.
  • (Score: 4, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @05:35PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @05:35PM (#996989)

    I see what you did there ...

    • (Score: 2) by martyb on Wednesday May 20 2020, @06:25PM (1 child)

      by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 20 2020, @06:25PM (#997032) Journal

      I see what you did there ...

      Absolutely UNintentionally! But I will take humor whenever I see it and thanks for the laugh! Here's your '+1 Funny', with thanks.

      --
      Wit is intellect, dancing.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @09:39PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20 2020, @09:39PM (#997106)

        So you're saying the dam wasn't in France?

  • (Score: 2) by Username on Wednesday May 20 2020, @10:53PM

    by Username (4557) on Wednesday May 20 2020, @10:53PM (#997133)

    Wasn't it her goal to fix this dam water system?

  • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Thursday May 21 2020, @10:47AM

    by Phoenix666 (552) on Thursday May 21 2020, @10:47AM (#997325) Journal

    The lower peninsula of Michigan has a lot of clay-based soil [msu.edu] (alfisol) that does not absorb rainfall well. The area around Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti floods on a dime. Midland, MI, looks like it sits on the same soil type and may have the same issue.

    --
    Washington DC delenda est.
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