Thousands of Michigan residents are dusting off that well-worn mantra in trying to deal with both a global pandemic and massive flooding.
A destructive, killer pandemic last terrified the world in 1918. The 2020 global crisis is quickly spreading throughout scores of countries all around the planet.
The state’s enormous rainstorm is considered a 500-year event.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, after completing an aerial tour of the impacted area on Wednesday, said, “What I can tell you is what you already know, you’ve seen from the pictures: It’s devastating.”
“It’s going to have a major impact on this community and on our state for the time to come,” she said, adding that she will be “very aggressive” about receiving help from the federal government. “I’ll have more to share on that soon.”
The dam failures forced 10,000 residents in the area to evacuate and one city may suffer from nine feet of flood waters.
“I feel like I’ve said this a lot over the last 10 weeks, but this is an event unlike anything we’ve seen before,” Witmer said. “And we’ve got to continue to all work together. To observe best practices, do our part to help one another and to wear our masks and continue to try and social distance in this moment.”
The governor stressed that the state is still “in the midst of COVID-19,” noting that there are reported cases in 79 out of 83 of Michigan’s counties.
“It’s hard to believe that we’re in midst of a 100-year crises, a global pandemic, and that we’re also dealing with a flooding event that looks to be the worst in 500 years,” she said. “But you know what, here’s what I know: When the chips are down the people of Michigan are able to rise up. We’re tough, we’re smart and we care about each other.”
The National Weather Service on Tuesday evening urged anyone near the river to seek higher ground following “catastrophic dam failures” at the Edenville Dam, about 140 miles north of Detroit and the Sanford Dam, about seven miles downriver.
The Tittabawassee River rose another four feet by Wednesday morning, to 34.4 feet in Midland. According to the National Weather Service, the height has set a new record for the river, beating the previous record of 33.3 feet set during flooding in 1986.
Emergency responders went door-to-door early Tuesday morning warning residents living near the Edenville Dam of the rising water.
A somewhat similar catastrophic dam break occurred in our region on March 12, 1928. It killed about 400 residents.
Many volunteers tried to save the lives of those living downstream from the broken St. Francis Dam.