Veros: Michigan Dam Disaster Cost More than $3.6 Billion

The May 20 dam breaks caused unprecedented damage and flooding in four Michigan counties. Throw in the coronavirus pandemic and you have a disaster unique in scope—and we’re only halfway through 2020.

“It’s an unimaginable scenario that quickly became a reality,” said Veros Real Estate Solutions, Burlingame, Calif., which analyzed the impact of the disaster. It identified 20,507 residential properties potentially impacted in the core of the disaster, with a total market value of $3.062 billion based on predictive analytics, out of 34,635 total residential properties in those counties with a value of $5.069 billion.

Heavy rains on May 20 caused significant flooding; it was referred to as a “once in 500-year” event. Both the Edenville and Sanford Dams were breached, contributing to the flooding and resulting property damage.  Roads became impassable and a boil water advisory was issued. Evacuation orders went into effect for more than 3,500 homes and 10,000 people.

The report ( noted that the disaster, coming amid the first wave of coronavirus cases in Michigan, complicated efforts to contain the virus, disrupting “stay-at-home” orders throughout the state. Evacuees underwent temperature checks and received masks at shelters.

“The total impact of the dam breaks and flooding was extreme,” Veros said. “People were forced from their homes with many homes water damaged and lost, businesses interrupted and lives forever changed. In addition, this flooding occurred during the COVID-19 virus pandemic, causing further strain on shelters, first responders and citizens following stay at home orders as well as social distancing guidelines.”