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The original item was published from 5/23/2020 2:07:00 PM to 5/30/2020 12:00:02 AM.

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Posted on: May 22, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Residents Urged to Stay off Dams and Lakes

A flooded downtown Midland

May 23, 2020 - Persons in, on, or around the Edenville and Sanford Dams or walking and recreating in the Wixom and Sanford Lake beds are in imminent danger of flash flooding and further dam erosion and collapse.

Repeated requests for persons to not venture into, onto or around the dams and lake areas are being ignored.

Rapid changes in water levels and ongoing flows from Beaverton Dam, the Tobacco River and other tributaries, coupled with rain predictions, are creating significant amounts of erosion to the dam structures still remaining. 

The remaining structural portions of the dams continue to provide some level of water retention; however, the existing water flow continues to erode exposed areas of the remaining dam structures.  If and when the remaining dam structures collapse, flash flooding will occur.   While not anticipated to cause the level of flooding experienced earlier in the week, flood water from further dam breakage will be fast and strong.  Those closest to the dam structure, especially in or around the lake bed, will be in danger from flash flooding and dangerous structural debris.

Mitigation efforts are in process to shore up remaining dam structures and to minimize impact in the event of further dam erosion and flash flooding.  Please continue to closely monitor local media, City and County social media channels, and sign up for Nixle alerts at Nixle.com

As of 11 a.m. Tittabawassee River level was 20.8 feet and receding.  The Tittabawasssee River fell below its flood stage of 24 feet on Friday evening.  Emergency management personnel are in close communications with the National Weather Service and continue to monitor weather conditions and river activity.

Emergency personnel cannot stress enough that no one should walk, recreate or venture near the lake beds, dams, river banks or any of the affected bodies of water.  The conditions are potentially life threatening.  

“Miraculously, there has been zero loss of life throughout this emergency,” said Emergency Management Coordinator Jenifer Boyer. “Let’s not let our guards down now and change that."  

If you do not live in the flood affected areas, you should not be in the flood affected areas.  Do not drive or walk there just to view the devastation.  Additional traffic in the area is slowing down recovery and restoration efforts by Consumers Energy and other workers; emergency response teams are being taken from immediate needs to deal with crowd control; and families attempting to deal with their properties are being prevented from doing so. 

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