Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers receding rapidly after massive floods

The Tittabawassee River fell sharply in Midland after reaching a record crest on Wednesday.
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MIDLAND (WJRT) (5/22/2020) - The Tittabawassee River has been receding rapidly after cresting at a record level above 35 feet on Wednesday.

The river level dropped below 25 feet on Friday morning and the National Weather Service believes it could fall below flood stage of 18 feet by Friday night.

The Tittabawassee River empties into the Saginaw River, which has been running in the moderate flood stage for most of this week. The Saginaw River fell below 22 feet Friday morning, but likely will remain above flood stage of 16 feet through the weekend.

The American Red Cross is still operating nine emergency shelters around Mid-Michigan for flood victims:
-- Coleman High School.
-- Midland High School.
-- Swan Valley High School.
-- Bullock Creek High School.
-- North Midland Family Center.
-- West Midland Family Center.
-- Saginaw Center Courts.
-- Mills Township Hall.
-- Emmanuel Baptist Church in Midland.

As of Friday afternoon, 11 people were staying at Saginaw Center Courts while five people were staying at the North Midland Family Center.

The Riverside Place housing complex in Midland will remain closed indefinitely due to flood damage. Officials say the facility had two feet of water on the lower level, which caused extreme damage.

All 150 residents -- many of whom use walkers and wheelchairs -- evacuated Riverside Place on Tuesday evening after the Edenville Dam broke and floodwaters began rising rapidly in Midland.

Many residents have been staying in emergency shelters at Midland High School and elsewhere in the city. A statement from the city says residents will be out of the building for "quite a bit of time."

City officials say a restoration company is working to make the building safe for people to enter. Building managers are emptying refrigerators and dumping perishable food left on counters throughout the building.

Residents on the first through fourth floors will be allowed to retrieve some belongings after the building is safe. However, the elevators are not working, so everyone would have to use the stairs.

Dow announced Friday that it plans to donate $1 million to flood relief around Midland. The donation will be split into three parts:
-- $250,000 to assist Dow employees.
-- $250,000 for the United Way of Midland County's Rise Together Fund.
-- $500,000 set aside to spend as needs surface during the recovery and rebuilding phase.

With water levels falling, focus has turned to cleanup.

The Midland Sanitary Landfill, which has been closed for several weeks during the coronavirus pandemic, will reopen on Saturday for Midland County residents to dispose of garbage, yard waste and flood debris.

The landfill will be open from 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, closed on Memorial and reopen for its regular schedule from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays beginning Tuesday.

City officials warn that wait times may be significant on Saturday, because they expected a high number of residents to begin dumping flood debris.

The landfill is only open to Midland County residents, who must bring identification to prove their residency. Social distancing guidelines must be following in the facility.

Regular trash collection in Midland restarted on Friday and will operate a day behind its normal schedule next week due to Memorial Day.

Midland Township residents can dispose of flood debris in dumpsters in the area of Poseyville Road and Venture Drive and located in the Tisland subdivision.

The Village of Sanford will have dumpsters available downtown and volunteers available to assist with removal of items from residents’ vehicles.

Curbside collection of flood debris will also be provided for Sanford residents. Residents with flood debris should place their items at the curb for collection.

Officials say residents should wear gloves while handling flood debris and consider it contaminated.

The city of Midland considers flood debris as a potential hazard, so no scavenging through debris put out to the curb is allowed. A city law prohibits scavenging during an emergency, punishable as a misdemeanor with up to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail.