It could be days before the full scope of damage from flooding in Central Michigan that submerged houses, washed out roads and threatened a Superfund site is apparent, authorities warned Thursday, as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer expressed hope the president will soon sign a federal emergency declaration. Some of the floodwaters from heavy rains that overtook two dams retreated, but much remained underwater, including in Midland, the headquarters of Dow Chemical Co. And floodwaters continued to threaten downstream communities. “The damage is truly devastating to see how high the water levels are, to see roofs barely visible in parts of Midland, and to see a lake that has been drained in another part,” said Whitmer, who toured Midland County on Wednesday. The flooding forced about 11,000 people to evacuate their homes in the Midland area, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) north of Detroit, following what the National Weather Service called “catastrophic dam failures” at the Edenville Dam, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest of Midland, and the Sanford Dam, about 9 miles (14 kilometers) northwest of the city. Whitmer said she spoke briefly with President Donald Trump on Wednesday, and that her office had been in contact with the Federal Emergency Management Agency about securing federal aid for the area. She said she hoped Trump would sign a federal emergency declaration during his visit to a Ford manufacturing plant in Michigan on Thursday. “He did say, ’If I get an opportunity to go to Midland, would you consider joining me,’” said Whitmer, adding that Trump asked about casualties and damage. “I said, ’Of course I would.’” No flood-related deaths or injuries have been reported, officials said. The floodwaters mixed with containment ponds at a Dow Chemical Co. plant and could displace sediment from a downstream Superfund site, though the company said there was no risk to people or the environment. Dow said the containment ponds held only water, and it has detected no chemical releases from the plant in Midland where the company was founded, though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said state officials would evaluate the plant when they’re able. Once the flooding recedes, Dow will be required to assess the Superfund site — contaminated with dioxins the company dumped in the last century — to determine if any contamination was released, the EPA said. Midland City Manager Brad Kaye said it was fortunate that the Tittabawassee River crested at just over 35 feet (11 meters), about 3 feet (90 centimeters) below the forecast level. Kaye warned that it could take four or five days for the floodwaters to recede, and asked residents to use caution when traveling or returning to their homes. “Don’t rush out thinking that you can just rush back to your homes, because the water is still there … this is not over,” Kaye said. Most of the water drained from Wixom Lake in Midland County’s Hope Township after the Edenville Dam failed, and residents wondered Thursday when, or if, water will return. “I’m sick about it. You know, I mean, it’s just sickening,” said resident Glenn Hart, 66, who surveyed the lake with his grandson. “Usually, that’s 21 feet deep out there in the cut,” Hart said, pointing from his backyard to the muddy ground that used to be the lake bottom. “Good fishing area. […]
The post ‘Truly Devastating’: Michigan Officials Assess Flood Damage appeared first on The Yeshiva World.