Subscribe for 17¢ / day

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) - Authorities on Friday lifted an evacuation order for 1,800 residents forced from their homes a day earlier by a churning, sediment-laden Dead River.

Those living directly along the river, however, were told to return at their own risk.

Flooding began Wednesday afternoon, when an earthen dike disintegrated about 30 miles upstream and two dams on the Dead River system failed, authorities said.

Because other key dams held, there were no reports of flooded homes. But authorities said flood waters scoured riverbanks and chewed up public property. City Manager Gerald Peterson said damage to bridges, roads, sewers and water mains probably would be in the millions of dollars.

Trees, logs, railroad ties and other flood debris bobbed in Lake Superior, where the deluge emptied.

"This is the worst in anybody's memory that I've talked to," Fire Chief Tom Belt said Thursday afternoon as he peered over the ruins of a two-lane bridge.

"Miraculously, no one was hurt," he said.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm declared a state of emergency in Marquette County late Thursday.

Authorities had ordered the evacuation of 485-acre area on the city's north side early Thursday as debris-laden waters from the washed-out dams advanced.

Most residents stayed with relatives; fewer than 100 spent the night in a shelter set up in a gymnasium, officials said.

One of the ruptured dams generates electricity for Marquette but power was not interrupted, officials said.

Copyright © 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

0
0
0
0
0