Michigan dams break, forcing thousands to evacuate

Michigan's governor declared a state of emergency in Midland County on Tuesday after two dams burst, endangering the population of 40,000 people.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) said at a news conference Tuesday evening that downtown Midland could be under as much as nine feet of water by midday Wednesday, according to CNN.

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“In the next 12 to 15 hours, downtown Midland could be under approximately nine feet of water," Whitmer reportedly said. "We are anticipating an historic high water level."

"If you have a family member or loved one who lives in another part of the state, go there now," she added. "If you don't, go to one of the shelters that have opened across the county."

The Edenville and Sanford Dams on the Tittabawassee River were reportedly breached Tuesday night, sending thousands of gallons of water towards the small Michigan city that is home to Dow Chemical Co. About 3,500 homes have been evacuated so far, according to local officials. No deaths or injuries have yet been reported.

Mark Bone, chair of Midland County's Board of Commissioners, stressed to CNN that those fleeing the floodwaters would be able to stay in shelters that would be adequately supplied with masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

"To go through this in the midst of a global pandemic is almost unthinkable. But we are here, and to the best of our ability we are going to navigate this together," Whitmer added at her news conference. "So please, to the best of your ability, continue to wear a face covering when you go to a shelter or go stay with a friend or relative."