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US Whitmer asks Trump for formal emergency declaration for Midland County flooding

18:48  21 may  2020
18:48  21 may  2020 Source:   freep.com

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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has sent a letter to President Donald Trump formally asking for him to declare a state of emergency in Midland County and send federal aid due to flooding there this week that has displaced thousands of residents.

Whitmer sent the letter to Trump on Wednesday. They spoke by phone that day as well, with Trump telling reporters that federal assistance was already on its way to the area, which saw the Edenville and Sanford dams breached on Tuesday due to heavy rainfall.

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  River flooding causes evacuations in Michigan as heavy rain sets records Two rivers in mid-Michigan had reached major flood stage by Tuesday afternoon.At least two rivers in mid-Michigan — the Tittabawassee River in Midland and the Rifle River near Sterling — had reached their major flood stage Tuesday afternoon. Moderate flooding has been observed at a handful of other rivers in mid-Michigan as well as the west and southwest portions of the state, according to the National Weather Service.

In the letter, the governor specifically asked for help in removing debris and erecting mobile bridges to ensure access for emergency response vehicles in flooded areas and for equipment to aid residents, emergency medical personnel from the National Guard, and technical assistance and sandbags from the Army Corps of Engineers.

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More: Mid-Michigan's catastrophic flooding adds to state's pandemic woes

"As the incident is still evolving, there is potential that sheltering operations will increase due to the severity of the damage," Whitmer wrote. "Residents and businesses are impacted drastically through damage to their property."

a tree next to a body of water: Debris litters the riverbank behind Dan Dionne's home, Wednesday, May 20, 2020, in Edenville, Mich. Some people living along two mid-Michigan lakes and parts of a river have been evacuated following several days of heavy rain that produced flooding and put pressure on dams in the area returned to the area to survey the damage. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) © Carlos Osorio, AP Debris litters the riverbank behind Dan Dionne's home, Wednesday, May 20, 2020, in Edenville, Mich. Some people living along two mid-Michigan lakes and parts of a river have been evacuated following several days of heavy rain that produced flooding and put pressure on dams in the area returned to the area to survey the damage. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) She said due to the extensive damage and ongoing nature of the disaster, estimates of the cost of the damage could not be completed, though earlier calculations of a failure of the Edenville Dam were estimated at nearly $890 million.

Gov. Whitmer: Downtown Midland could be under 9 feet of water by Wednesday

  Gov. Whitmer: Downtown Midland could be under 9 feet of water by Wednesday Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Midland County after the Edenville and Sanford dams breached . Speaking during a press conference late Tuesday, Whitmer said parts of the city of Midland, the village of Sanford, Edenville Township and Dow Chemical had been or were being evacuated. She said officials were working to evacuate residents in Tittabawassee, Thomas and Saginaw townships on Tuesday evening.

Whitmer declared a state of emergency in Midland County on Tuesday. A federal declaration allows for additional aid to be made available to residents and businesses, as well as resources to respond directly to the disaster.

According to Whitmer's letter, a storm beginning last weekend dumped 6 to 8 inches of rain in Michigan, swelling the Tittabawassee River, which crested in Midland County at 35 feet on Wednesday afternoon.

Trump is expected to visit a Ford Motor Co. plant in Ypsilanti on Thursday and said Wednesday he could return to Michigan to visit the damaged area in the future at an "appropriate" time.

Contact Todd Spangler at tspangler@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @tsspangler. Read more on Michigan politics and sign up for our elections newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Whitmer asks Trump for formal emergency declaration for Midland County flooding

Michigan's dam safety unit: 2 staff for entire state, a supervisor, and $397K .
Michigan relies on more than 1,700 private dam owners to do the right thing. What happens when they don't, or can't?Trumble is an environmental engineer with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy's Dam Safety Unit, inspecting dams himself or reviewing outside consultants' inspection reports from dams. His colleague, Dan DeVaun, does the same for 52 Michigan counties, from the Thumb to Midland to Pentwater, north encompassing all of the mid- and northern-Lower Peninsula, and the entirety of the Upper Peninsula.

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