It’s still unclear when waters will recede enough to allow residents to return to their homes.
EDENVILLE, MI — After days of unrelenting rain, Michiganders living along two inland lakes and parts of the Tittabawassee River were told to evacuate their homes early Tuesday morning. The heavy rains put dangerous pressure on dams in the area.
The Edenville and Sanford dams were at risk of failing, according to a series of alerts that the Midland County 911 sent. Residents living near Sanford Lake, Wixom Lake and other area waterways were encouraged to evacuate. Shelters were set up at Meridian Jr. High and Coleman High Schools. According to the Midland Daily News, most opted to sleep in their cars.
Social distancing is hardly a priority when residents need basic food, water and shelter. Other natural disasters across the country have resulted in small coronavirus outbreaks due to close quarters in emergency facilities.
According to a CNN report, scientists are predicting an active season for natural disasters across America this year. Tornadoes have already swept through Arkansas and hurricane season is quickly approaching the country’s East Coast.
Midland County Emergency Management later said that the dams themselves were “structurally sound,” but that water flowing through the dam spillgates couldn’t be controlled, so evacuation measures remained in place.
Just to the north in Gladwin County, the National Weather service issued a flash flood warning for the Cedar River below the Chappel Dam. Anyone south of the dam is urged to leave their home immediately, local media reported. Other parts of the state saw isolated flooding following the heavy rains in recent days.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.