Midland County is quite vulnerable to flooding. The Tittabawassee River is our primary river with the Chippewa, Pine, and Salt Rivers its major tributaries. Other creeks and streams such as the Snake and Sturgeon are also branches of the Tittabawassee.
Midland typically experiences flooding in the spring when the ground is saturated with moisture and rainfall runs off into the river system. A similar situation sometimes occurs in the late autumn. An unusually large amount of precipitation received in a short amount of time, as occurred in September 1986, can cause flooding also.
A watch is maintained of the county's river system by the Office of Emergency Management. The Detroit/Pontiac National Weather Service Office issues flood watches and flood warnings based on current and developing conditions.
A FLOOD WATCH means that conditions may lead to flooding and residents should be on the alert for that possibility.
A FLOOD WARNING is issued as an advance notice that a flood is imminent or is in progress.
Early flood warnings provide time for people to prepare, and by preparing lessen damage from the flood. Residents in low-lying areas have time to move personal property, mobile equipment, and livestock to higher ground.
URBAN FLOODING can occur in areas where natural cover has been removed by the construction of buildings, roads, and parking lots. Heavy rain can result in flash flooding, inundating cars, and causing considerable damage to property. Streets can become swollen with water and basements can experience flooding. This occurred in Midland, in the form of a Flash Flood on June 21, 1996 when over 4 inches of rain was received in a short period of time. As a result, nearly 1,400 homes were damaged by rain water that had nowhere else to go.
The National Weather Service distributes flood warning information on NOAA Weather Radio. In the Midland area, NOAA Weather Radio can be received on frequency 162.525 MHz. NOAA Weather Radio provides continuous broadcasts of the latest weather information directly from the National Weather Service. Weather messages are repeated every 4 to 6 minutes and alerts issued when needed.
Flood information is distributed locally through Nixle, 1-888-TELL-MORE, 2-1-1, midland911.org, Facebook, MGTV Channel 188, and local radio, television, and newspapers. This includes a list of street closings caused by flooding.
FLOOD SAFETY RULES
Before The Flood
- Keep materials on hand such as sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, and lumber
- Keep first aid supplies on hand
- Keep a stock of food that requires little or no cooking and no refrigeration
- Keep a portable radio, emergency cooking equipment, lights and flashlights in working order
- Know if your property is located in the floodplain or a flood prone area
During The Flood
- Avoid areas subject to flooding
- Do not attempt to cross flowing water
- Do not attempt to drive over a flooded road - you can be stranded or trapped
After The Flood
- Do not use fresh food that has come in contact with flood waters
- Boil drinking water before using
- Do not visit disaster areas; your presence may endanger you or hamper emergency response effort
- Do not handle live electrical equipment in wet areas; electrical equipment should be checked and dried before being returned to service
- Look for specific information concerning such things as shelters, food, clothing, and other types of assistance