Michigan dams break as floodwaters rise, forcing thousands to evacuate

WATCH: Michigan dams break as floodwaters rise, forcing thousands to evacuate

EDENVILLE, Mich. — After days of heavy rains, floodwaters overwhelmed two Michigan dams Tuesday, forcing thousands of residents to evacuate their homes.

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In a Tuesday night alert, the National Weather Service's Detroit office warned of "extremely dangerous flash flooding" of the Tittabawassee River in Midland County after the Edenville and Sanford dams suffered "catastrophic" failures.

Wixom Lake will be gone by tomorrow. So devastating 😢😢 #WixomLake #EdenvilleDam

Posted by Ryan Kaleto on Tuesday, May 19, 2020

"Flash flood emergencies are in effect, and anyone near the river should seek higher ground immediately, be prepared for immediate evacuations, and not drive into flooded roadways," the agency said, adding that a flash flood watch was in effect for Saginaw County, as well.

Meanwhile, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an emergency declaration Tuesday evening for Midland County and warned that the city of Midland’s downtown area “could be under approximately 9 feet of water” by Wednesday morning, The Associated Press reported.

“If you have not evacuated the area, do so now and get somewhere safe,” Whitmer said. “This is unlike anything we’ve seen in Midland County.”

Midland is home to more than 40,000 residents and the main plant of Dow Chemical Co., which said it is closely monitoring the situation, according to the AP.

"Dow has activated its local emergency operations center and is implementing its flood preparedness plan, which includes the safe shutdown of operating units on site," Dow Michigan Operations said in a Facebook post. "Only essential Dow staff needed to monitor the situation and manage any issues as a result of the flooding remain on site. We will continue to engage with our site tenants and Midland County officials and take immediate action to ensure the safety and security of our employees, community and the environment."

Dow has activated its local emergency operations center and is implementing its flood preparedness plan which includes...

Posted by Dow in the GLBR on Tuesday, May 19, 2020

As of early Wednesday, about 10,000 residents had been evacuated, the AP reported.

Read more here.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Mark Musselman brings a chair to the front of his house from the back yard, wading through floodwater on May 19, 2020, in Edenville, Mich.
Mark Musselman brings a chair to the front of his house from the back yard, wading through floodwater on May 19, 2020, in Edenville, Mich. (Katy Kildee/Midland Daily News via AP)