The Midland, Michigan Flood, From An Eyewitness Perspective

My Hometown Of Midland, MI Went From Being Unknown To Underwater In Just One Night

Time to grow some gills.


While I was growing up in Midland, MI, everyone always talked about how lame it was. There was never anything to do and nothing interesting ever happened.

Last night, that all changed.

After significant rainfall, downtown and the surrounding areas began flooding. Usually this isn't too big of a deal — it happens pretty much every year. Seeing our quaint little farmer's market underwater was an annual spectacle we all enjoyed.

Then, the Edenville Dam failed, unleashing all of Wixom Lake into the river. This cascade caused two other dams to breach, prompting evacuations for thousands of Midland residents — myself included.

As my house was on the edge of the evacuation zone, I took my time and drove around to watch the chaos unfold. It seemed like every police officer was out that night. They were setting up roadblocks, lighting flares, and even going door-to-door telling people to evacuate.

It was like the apocalypse.

The roads became congested as everyone in the affected areas sought shelter elsewhere. Power was out in several neighborhoods, so the roads were eerily lit by flashing lights from all the police cars. Driving was somewhat a perilous task. It seemed like the only roads that didn't have barriers in front of them were already barricaded by a new pond.

In some places, a kayak would do far better than a car.

Every few minutes, another one of my friends posted a picture on their Snapchat story depicting the carnage. Usually it's a flooded basement. Sometimes its a camper floating down the river.

At the time of writing, the flooding still hasn't crested yet. It's expected to rise at least three more feet.

On top of that, Dow Chemical (one of the largest chemical suppliers in the country and Midland's only claim to fame) is in the flood zone. My friends and I used to sit up on a hill next to some of their containment ponds, fantasizing about going for a swim in one and coming out with gills and another arm. Now, we're worried about what's going to happen if that toxic water is mixed with the floodwater — possibly huge environmental implications.

My heart goes out to the 2020 high school graduating class in Midland. A girl I dated for two years lives right next to one of the flooding rivers.

Her house might not be there tomorrow.

Not only did she not have a real graduation, but now she might not even have a home.

Nothing ever happened in Midland, but now there's an article about us in every major news outlet. People from college are texting me asking if I'm OK, and some of them live thousands of miles away. Suddenly, everyone around the country knows about my quaint little town — I just wish it was for something else.

I suppose the moral of the story is to be careful what you wish for. All I want is to be bored again.

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