Two dams overflow in Michigan, flooding and mass evacuations

Two dams overflowed in Michigan, raising fears of massive flooding. Several thousand local residents have received an evacuation order.

Several thousand people were ordered to evacuate a region of central Michigan after the overflow of two dams which raised fears of “historic” flooding on Wednesday, the authorities of this state in the north of the United States announced.

Heavy rains in recent days have breached the Edenville and Sanford dams, and caused a sudden rise in the waters of the Tittabawassee River which borders Midland, a town of 41,000 people 200 kilometers north of Detroit.

About 10,000 people living near the river have been called to seek refuge in emergency reception centers.

“We are anticipating a historic water level,” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Tuesday evening, announcing that she had declared a state of emergency for the region.

Midland town center could be under nearly three meters of water on Wednesday, she said at a press conference.

Evacuation in the midst of a pandemic

This disaster comes as Michigan is one of the states in the country most affected by the coronavirus epidemic. The governor asked the evacuees to wear a mask and to respect the barrier gestures to avoid contamination in the reception centers.

The meteorological services (NWS) issued a warning bulletin to flash floods along the river, valid until mid-afternoon Wednesday, estimating that the situation was “particularly dangerous”.

The chemicals group Dow, headquartered in Midland, has announced the implementation of anti-flooding measures and the closure of its sites located in the risk area.

President Donald Trump assured Twitter that the White House was “closely monitoring the flooding in central Michigan.”

“Stay safe and listen to local officials,” he wrote to residents.

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