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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: 2) by canopic jug on Thursday May 21 2020, @12:56PM (2 children)

    by canopic jug (3949) 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.

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  • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Thursday May 21 2020, @02:56PM (1 child)

    by PiMuNu (3823) 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) 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.

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