Two Dams Failed in Michigan, Forcing 10,000 People To Flee. Here's What Caused It.

Uncover the chain of calamity.
Derya Ozdemir

In May 2020, severe flooding struck central Michigan after two dams were breached by rain-swollen waters, causing thousands of residents to flee, nearly $200 million in damage, and prompting officials to issue a life-threatening warning.

The catastrophic failure of the Edenville Dam embankment as a result of heavy flooding had started the domino effect. The failure sent a wall of water downstream in the Tittabawassee River and completely drained Wixom Lake. This quickly overwhelmed the downstream Sanford Dam, causing it to overtop and fail. Over 10,000 people had to be evacuated from Sanford, Midland, and Saginaw.

In this video by the YouTube channel Practical Engineering, a September 2021 interim report prepared by an independent forensic team charged with investigating the event is under the spotlight. The video goes through the investigation to examine what really happened and takes a good look at the conclusions. If you want to learn more, make sure you watch the video above. 

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