The Sanford Dam is routinely “opened”, or spilled, at night. Spilling the Sanford Dam causes river water upstream of Sanford Lake to pass through to Midland. The Sanford Dam is a federally-regulated structure and is not used as a flood control dam. Ideally, the operators of the dam pass river water through it in a similar manner as would happen if the dam was not there; however, as more water enters Sanford Lake from the north, the dam will need to release more water as well. The operators of the dam have certain protocols that they must follow to regulate the flow of the water leaving the lake. Unfortunately for Midland, these protocols have very little to do with controlling the flow of water that heads downstream to Midland. Emergency Services and Central Dispatch are notified when Sanford Dam begins spilling and when those spills increase and decrease.
Please remember: if Sanford Dam was not there, this water would still reach Midland and the river levels would be elevated.