Loading...

Photos show devastating impact of Michigan floods

Resident Joe Ryan paddles a kayak to check on his home in a flooded neighborhood along the Tittabawassee River, after the two dam failures in Midland, Michigan, U.S., May 20, 2020.

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

The failure of two Michigan dams has led to devastating floods and the evacuation of more than 10,000 people.

Located 140 miles north of Detroit, the Sanford Dam and the Edenville Dam broke Tuesday evening after experiencing heavy rains, causing extreme flooding along the Tittabawassee River. The rushing water had enough force to destroy roads and bridges, while submerging homes and businesses.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Midland County, which was hit particularly hard by the flooding, and has asked for federal aid in responding to the disaster. The Tittabawassee River crested at just over 35 feet in the city of Midland on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. In addition to putting entire neighborhoods underwater, the floodwaters also hit Dow Chemical’s main plant, which is located in Midland.

The Tittabawassee River is a federal Superfund cleanup site because of the Dow plant’s past disposal of liquid waste into the river that released carcinogenic chemicals. The flooding prompted concern over whether the flooding would release these carcinogens into neighborhoods, and Dow issued a statement on Twitter saying there was no current threat of contaminants being leaked.

The heavy floods have also brought up questions about the impact of climate change on the environment. Climate change has to led to extreme weather that more frequently causes natural disasters like flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that destroy homes and cost lives.

This latest disaster also demonstrated how weak infrastructure can make the outcome of extreme weather even worse. Michigan rated the Edenville Dam to be in unsatisfactory condition in 2018, and the Sanford Dam was rated in fair condition. 

Here is a collection of photos illustrating the devastating impact the flooding had in Michigan:

Residents gather to survey flood level in Midland, Mich.

People look at flood waters from the Tittabawassee River in Midland, Michigan, U.S., on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. President Donald Trump said he’s sending federal emergency workers to Midland, Michigan, where dam failures have flooded a Dow Inc. chemical complex and homes in a disaster that may force the evacuation of more than 10,000 people.

Sean Proctor | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Floodwaters at the Sanford Dam

An aerial view of flooding as water overruns Sanford Dam, Michigan, U.S. in this May 19, 2020 still frame obtained from social media video.

TC Vortex | via REUTERS

Floodwaters wash away a road in Midland, Mich.

A road collapsed due to flood water is seen in this aerial photograph taken after dams failed in Midland, Michigan, U.S., on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

Emily Elconin | Bloomberg | Getty Images

An evacuee center in Midland, Mich.

Dot Costello, 101 years old, sits on a bed at an evacuee centre after being evacuated from her home along the Tittabawassee River, after several dams breached, in Midland, Michigan, U.S., May 20, 2020.

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

A resident surveys damage to local businesses

Residents take pictures and explore the catastrophic damage to downtown Sanford following extreme flooding throughout central Michigan on May 20, 2020 in Sanford, Michigan.

Matthew Hatcher | Getty Images

Aerial view of a neighborhood submerged

Houses surrounded by flood water are seen in this aerial photograph taken after dams failed in Midland, Michigan, U.S., on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

Emily Elconin | Bloomberg | Getty Images

 A cyclist surveys floodwaters

A resident looks at a flooded street along the Tittabawassee River, after several dams breached, in downtown Midland, Michigan, U.S., May 20, 2020.

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

The flooded Dow facility in Midland, Mich.

The Dow facility stands surrounded by flood waters in this aerial photograph taken after dams failed in Midland, Michigan, U.S., on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. Two dams failed upstream of Dow Inc.’s headquarters, forcing the chemical company to activate emergency plans with a potential surge of water headed toward its offices and a large industrial complex.

Emily Elconin | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Mich. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses media

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer wears a face mask as she arrives to address the media about the flooding along the Tittabawassee River, after several dams breached, in downtown Midland, Michigan U.S., May 20, 2020.

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

Aerial view of rising flood waters from the Tittabawassee River

Rising flood waters of the Tittabawassee River advance upon the city after the breach of two dams, Edenville and Sanford, in Midland, Michigan, U.S. May 20, 2020.

Drone Base | Reuters

Remains of the West Curtis Road Bridge

Residents explore what remains of the West Curtis Road bridge which was swept away following extreme flooding throughout central Michigan on May 20, 2020 in Edenville, Michigan.

Matthew Hatcher | Getty Images

National Guard helps residents evacuate

A Michigan National Guard hands a pet to the owner after they were evacuated to an emergency shelter during the flooding along the Tittabawassee River, after two dam failures submerged parts of Midland, Michigan U.S., May 20, 2020.

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

A resident takes his rowboat through a flooded neighborhood

Neil Hawk and his wife Dawn take a rowboat out to a residential part of Sanford to inspect the damage to their neighborhood following extreme flooding throughout central Michigan on May 20, 2020 in Sanford, Michigan.

Matthew Hatcher | Getty Images

Aerial view shows the scale of flooding across farmland

Farmland is seen submerged by flood water in this aerial photograph taken after dams failed in Midland, Michigan, U.S., on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

Emily Elconin | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A resident gathers some belongings

Mark Musselman brings a chair to the front of his house from the back yard, wading through floodwater, Tuesday, May 19, 2020 in Edenville, Mich.

Katy Kildee | Midland Daily News | Getty Images

Volunteers help distribute emergency supplies

Volunteers unload water and supplies at a centre for residents evacuated from their homes along the Tittabawassee River, after several dams breached, in Midland, Michigan U.S., May 20, 2020.

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

Satellite image of flooded region 

Maxar satellite imagery of isabella Street in Midland, Michigan — due to the Tittabawassee River flooding.

Source: Satellite image (c) 2020 Maxar Technologies.

A cyclist bikes through flooded streets

A man cycles through a flooded road, after dams failed, in Midland, Michigan, U.S., on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

Sean Proctor | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Leave a Reply