Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an emergency declaration on Tuesday after two dams in central Michigan failed following heavy rains, MLive reports.
The Edenville Dam failed at around 5:45 pm on Tuesday and the Sanford Dam failed about an hour later.
Whitmer sent in the National Guard and urged residents to evacuate immediately.
“Please, get somewhere safe now,” she said in a late-night press conference.
Whitmer said that downtown Midland, home to about 10,000 people, could be under nine feet of water within hours.
Sanford, Edenville, and the nearby Dow Chemical plant were also evacuated.
Whitmer predicts record flooding:
Whitmer said that the flooding could peak within 12-15 hours on Tuesday night.
“We are anticipating an historic high water level,” she said.
Whitmer said that officials were working to evacuate hospital patients at the MidMichigan Medical Center, which has been hit by the coronavirus.
“This is going to be hard and we are anticipating several feet of water in the area. To go through this in the midst of a global pandemic is almost unthinkable,” she said. “But we are here and to the best of our ability, we are going to navigate this together.”
Midland City Manager Brad Kaye said that the flooding is expected to exceed any previous records.
“While the 1986 flood was a 100-year flood, what we’re looking at here is an event that is the equivalent of a 500-year flood,” he said. “It’s something that is extremely rare, extremely catastrophic and quite dangerous.”