Mass Evacuations in Michigan After Dams Collapse

After suffering record-breaking heavy rains, the Central Michigan city of Midland experienced a catastrophic 2-dam collapse along the Tittabawassee River yesterday evening. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency and expressed that “In the next 12 to 15 hours, downtown Midland could be under approximately nine feet of water.” Whitmer also urged people to swiftly evacuate the affected areas as forecasters are predicting a 38′ crest, 4′ higher than the 500-year flood in 1986.

Why This Matters: Michigan has been hit especially hard by the coronavirus in recent months and the dam collapse has been every governor’s worst nightmare: how to handle a natural disaster in the midst of a pandemic. This is an ongoing situation, but one additional threat to watch is that of how the flooding will affect the Dow Chemical facility also located in Midland.

A Perfect Storm: Why were rains so bad? MLive explained that the heaviest rain was produced by a condition that usually causes Michigan’s biggest rains – tropical moisture.

  • Tropical Storm Arthur was churning off the Mid-Atlantic coast. A conveyor belt of moisture traveled from the East Coast westward into Michigan.
  • The storm system already in place over Michigan was able to tap into that tropical moisture and really increase rainfall totals.

Up Next

Summer Heatwaves and Blackouts Put Millions at Risk of Heat Stroke, Exhaustion

Summer Heatwaves and Blackouts Put Millions at Risk of Heat Stroke, Exhaustion

by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer Extreme weather and permanent droughts are sweeping across the Western U.S., and with them comes an increasing demand for A/C and power. But cooling buildings through increasingly severe heatwaves takes a significant toll on power grids, and a new study has found that a significant heatwave blackout in three major American cities […]

Continue Reading 582 words
Lawmakers Introduce SAFE Act to Protect Natural Resources From Climate Disasters

Lawmakers Introduce SAFE Act to Protect Natural Resources From Climate Disasters

On Wednesday, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (D-PA-08) and U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced the Safeguarding America’s Future and Environment (SAFE) Act to protect natural resources and wildlife from climate change.

Why This Matters: As temperatures rise and extreme weather becomes more common, the nation’s natural resources are increasingly at risk. 

Continue Reading 432 words
Farmers in Northern Plains Brace For Drought

Farmers in Northern Plains Brace For Drought

by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer As summer approaches, the Northern Plains of the United States and the Canadian Prairies, which are the world’s key growing regions for canola and spring wheat, are experiencing a record-breaking drought.  Now, farmers fear that these parched fields won’t yield enough crop to satisfy unusually high demand. This fear […]

Continue Reading 460 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.