Governor Kristi Noem today encouraged people living in the Big Sioux River Valley in eastern South Dakota to start preparing for record flooding.
Winter snowmelt and rain have raised the water levels in Big Sioux River Valley areas north of Watertown to south of Sioux Falls. At this time, the National Weather Service predicts that when flooding starts sometime this weekend or next week, the flooding levels could reach historic levels, some levels not seen since 1969.
“Flooding is not a matter of if, but when,” said Noem. “These levels will impact homes, businesses, roads, and farms. It’s important that those living in the Big Sioux River Valley start their flooding preparations now.”
Noem last week ordered the opening of the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in the Mickelson Law Enforcement Center in Pierre to help coordinate the state’s response to last week’s blizzard and flooding. Several state agencies are working within the SEOC to prepare for upcoming flooding.
Residents in the area where flooding is expected to occur are urged to take the following basic precautions to protect themselves and their property from flooding:
- When driving, avoid going through flooded roads and do not drive around barricades. Take alternate routes. Check safetravelusa.com/sd or call 5-1-1 for the most up-to-date information on state highways. Check with your county law enforcement or emergency management office for county and township road closures.
- Make sure you have enough supplies, including needed medication, on hand.
- Safeguard your possessions. Put copies of insurance policies, financial records and other critical documents in a waterproof container, along with an inventory of major household items.
- Make sure the sump pump is working and consider a battery-operated backup. Consider adding a sewer plug to your system.
- If possible, move furniture and valuable items such as photo albums and family keepsakes to a safe place.