Michigan Floods and Dam Failures May 2020

Start Date

May 17, 2020

Overview

Heavy rainfall in central Michigan starting on May 17, 2020 has caused significant flooding in Midland County, with news reports indicating damage to roadways, homes and business. The governor of Michigan has declared a state of emergency and ordered more than 10,000 residents of Edenville and Sanford to evacuate. The floods have also resulted in the failure of the Edenville Dam the evening of May 19th and the Sanford Dam several hours later, causing additional flooding around the Tittabawassee River region. Flooding from the Edenville Dam is suspected to have breached the walls of Dow Chemical Facility.

This preliminary Flood Proxy Map (FPM) shows areas that are likely flooded (light blue pixels of 4m in size) in Midland City, Michigan, due to the failure of the Edenville and Sanford Dams. This map should be used as guidance to identify areas that are li

This preliminary Flood Proxy Map (FPM) shows areas that are likely flooded (light blue pixels of 4m in size) in Midland City, Michigan, due to the failure of the Edenville and Sanford Dams. This map should be used as guidance to identify areas that are likely flooded and may be less reliable over urban and vegetated areas. The map was generated by the National Central University (NCU) of Taiwan in collaboration with the Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, using optical satellite data acquired from Planet Labs on May 20th, 2020. Image Credit: NASA ARIA, NCU, Planet Labs, Google

The NASA Earth Applied Sciences Disasters Program has activated to Tier 1 in support of the floods and dam failures, and is monitoring the situation to determine what NASA resources and capabilities may be available to support risk management for this event. The Disasters Program is currently aiding stakeholders from the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and the Swiss Re Group insurance company to identify potentially flooded areas using ARIA Flood Proxy Maps and assess potential damage to the Dow Chemical plant.

Latest Updates

May 22, 2020
This natural-color image shows flooding across Midland County on May 20th, 2020 as observed by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
On May 17, 2020, heavy rain began pouring over the Tri-Cities region of central Michigan and, after two days, it provoked significant flooding in Midland County. The accumulating rainfall led to catastrophic dam failures that swelled rivers and streams and inundated several nearby communities. The governor ordered more than 10,000 residents of Edenville and Sanford to evacuate. This natural-color image...