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Midland County flood damage estimates top $175 million

From left, Midland County Board of Commissioners Chairman Mark Bone, Congressman John...
From left, Midland County Board of Commissioners Chairman Mark Bone, Congressman John Moolenaar of Midland and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer give an update on the response to record flooding. (WJRT)
Published: Jun. 8, 2020 at 4:05 PM EDT
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(6/8/2020) - Nearly three weeks after two dams failed, the scale of damage from the resulting floods became clearer.

Midland County Board of Commissioners Chairman Mark Bone said floods affected 250,000 homes, businesses and nonprofit agencies in the county after the Edenville and Sanford dams collapsed on May 19.

They suffered a combined $175 million in damage and that figure could climb above $200 million as estimates continue, Bone said.

Of the homes that were damaged, only 8% had flood coverage and most were located outside flood zones, Bone said. About 150 homes were completely destroyed and 790 suffered major damage, but it was not clear if they will be declared total losses.

"We're taking calls every day about how we make this right with them and we're trying to figure that out," Bone said.

Public infrastructure and nonprofit agencies accounted for about $34 million in damage.

The community remains strong and is ready to begin rebuilding, Bone said during a press conference at Meridian Elementary School in Sanford on Monday afternoon.

"We're ready to go," he said. "There's been a mourning period. We're still mourning a little bit, but we're ready to go forward. And so now it's up to rebuilding this community, which I firmly believe we will."

Bone said the recovery will require help from the state and federal governments, along with additional private investment.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a State of Emergency for the areas affected by the floods and President Donald Trump also declared a federal disaster, which allows for FEMA assistance.

"This is a tough challenge in front of us, there's no question," Whitmer said.

The dams broke on May 19 after days of heavy rainfall, sending billions of gallons of water from Wixom and Sanford lakes down the Tittabawassee River. The river crested at a record level of 35.05 feet on May 20.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy is conducting an investigation into what caused the dams to fail.