Flooding Causes Concern for Indiana Michigan Power Regarding Hydro-Electric Dams
Berrien County officials have been in contact with Indiana Michigan Power officials regarding hydro-electric dams that they operate on the rivers in Berrien County. Heavy rain combined with snow melt brought the St. Joseph River in southwest Michigan and north-central Indiana to record levels, producing flooding that required some customers to be disconnected and affecting the six hydro-electric dams I&M operates on the river. I&M is working closely with local city officials and first responders, both to safely disconnect power to customers in flooded areas and to communicate the role of dams in connection with the river. Currently, all of I&M’s dams along the St. Joseph River in Northern Indiana and Michigan are operating per engineered design. I&M has notified the appropriate public safety officials in Berrien County about the status of the dam and will provide updates in coming days. I&M’s dams are not designed as storage or flood-control facilities. I&M is following all state and federal rules and regulations. According to the National Weather Service, the St. Joseph River has crested in Niles, South Bend and Elkhart. Crests further downstream toward Buchanan are expected this weekend. Power to about 250 customers in Michigan and about 300 in Indiana was disconnected to protect against electrical hazards caused by rising water. Some disconnections were made at individual homes; others involved switching off power to lines supplying specific neighborhoods in danger of flooding. Most disconnections came at the request of public safety officials.
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