LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Thursday afternoon President Donald Trump declared a major disaster area for mid-Michigan counties affected by widespread and severe flooding and dam failures in May.
“Seeing the people and businesses of these communities pull together to help one another after this 500-year flooding event continues to inspire me,” Whitmer said. “The devastation of this disaster touched thousands of Michigan families and businesses and this federal declaration is an important step in our efforts to continue to provide assistance as they recover and rebuild.”
In May, Whitmer declared a state of emergency for the counties affected by the dam failures and requested and received a federal emergency declaration for Midland and Gladwin counties. She later expanded her declaration to include Iosco County.
The same day, Whitmer directed the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy launch an investigation into what caused the Edenville and Sanford dams to fail.
Officials with the state said the flooding was caused by an area of low pressure stalled across the Great Lakes region, bringing a prolonged period of rainfall to Michigan from May 17 to May 19. Persistent steady rain resulted in excessive two-day rainfall totals reaching record levels at some locations.
Multiple residents impacted by the flood have taken part of two federal class-action lawsuits filed against the dam owners.