GLADWIN COUNTY – Extreme amounts of rain has led to intense flooding throughout the mid Michigan area. The flooding began on Monday, May 18 and carried into the next day, increasing in severity as time went on. Many locals living near or on lake property received mobile alerts to evacuate homes and make for higher ground. Dams along the Tittabawassee River and the Cedar River were in danger of imminently failing on Monday night. These dams include Secord Lake Dam, Wixom Lake Dam, Smallwood Dam, Sanford Lake Dam, and Chappel Dam.
According to a press release from the Gladwin County Clerk, there have been no reports made of any dam failure and that all of the dams dealing with a larger mass of water remain open with water rapidly flowing downstream. The release also includes words from the Gladwin County Director of Emergency Management reminding residents to stay out of the water, avoid attempts to retrieve boats, docks and hoists that may have been washed away, and not to cross any water covered roads.
Gladwin Emergency Management stated that there has been severe damage caused to many roads throughout the county and that they are currently working on assessments of their infrastructure. They are also urging residents not to travel unless necessary and that they should stay away from flooded and damaged areas to allow safety personnel to perform their duties.
As of Tuesday morning, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has barricaded South M-30 at Stryker’s Marina at Wixom Lake due to water and debris flooding the roadway. The Gladwin County Clerk asks residents to not visit the area to observe the damage and to allow the emergency staff to properly secure the area for the safety of all residents.
Emergency responders continue to evacuate residents in flood zones and assist those in need as of Tuesday afternoon. Starting around 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning, three Gladwin County Transit buses followed the Billings Township Fire Department around Billings Township and offered their aid in rescuing residents from damaged or threatened homes.
Residents in lower areas are being urged to seek higher ground.
UPDATE: As of Tuesday evening, the Edenville Dam (Wixom Lake) has been breached. Water has since been flooding heavily into areas in and around Sanford and Midland. As of Wednesday, May 20, Wixom Lake has been largely emptied downstream, leaving areas of where the lake previously spanned clear of water.
The M-30 bridge near Strykers Marina that was barricaded has collapsed. A part of the US-10 bridge crossing over Sanford Lake has also collapsed. Numerous roads surrounding the areas of Wixom Lake, Sanford Lake, and all along the Tittabawassee River remain closed due to flooding. It is important for residents to stay clear of flooded areas until instructed it is safe to return.
Most of Midland and surrounding areas have also been evacuated, including the MidMichigan Health Hospital in Midland. Areas around Joe Mann Blvd. and Eastman Ave. are experiencing intensive flooding as a result of the Edenville Dam failure.