Whitmer formally requests major disaster declaration for Mid-Michigan floods

Downtown Midland remained under several feet of water 12 hours after the Tittabawassee River...
Downtown Midland remained under several feet of water 12 hours after the Tittabawassee River crested at a record level of 35.05 feet.(WJRT)
Published: Jun. 15, 2020 at 3:55 PM EDT
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(6/15/2020) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer formally requested a major disaster declaration for five Mid-Michigan counties affected by May's flooding in a letter to President Donald Trump on Monday.

If approved, the request would provide more federal resources to help homeowners and private businesses recover from nearly $200 million in damages from the floods, which caused the Edenville and Sanford dams to collapse.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency also would be allowed to provide assets and assistance for the flood relief efforts.

Whitmer is requesting Trump include Arenac, Gladwin, Iosco, Midland and Saginaw counties in a federal major disaster declaration.

"This natural disaster, coupled with a global health pandemic, has created enormous stress and emotional trauma for these residents, and they need the federal government’s help to begin rebuilding their lives" Whitmer said.

Days of persistent rain caused flooding over the weekend of May 16 and 17. The water overwhelmed the Edenville and Sanford dams on the Tittabawassee River, causing both to fail on May 19.

That allowed the contents of Wixom and Sanford lakes to rush downstream into Midland and Saginaw counties, where the river crested at a record level of 35.05 feet on May 20.

Whitmer says damage estimates have reached $190 million for residents, businesses and nonprofit agencies. Public buildings and infrastructure suffered an additional $42 million in damage.

“This 500-year disaster has impacted everyone from homeowners and renters to businesses and farmers throughout mid-Michigan, and I urge the federal government to provide the resources necessary to ensure they don’t suffer financial hardships for years as they attempt to repair and restore their damaged homes and businesses,” Whitmer said.