March has blown in enough snow and rain to cause flooding on some roads and the threat that it could get worse as spring melting starts in Moody County.
A week ago, on March 13, 2.2 inches of rain fell in Flandreau. Combined with warmer temperatures and a heavy snow pack, melting and runoff became an issue.
Moody County emergency management director Terry Albers wants to see the state declare and emergency so that counties could have access to surplus equipment, such as generators and portable pumps, if needed.
“It’s kind of hard to tell how much flooding we’re going to see here. It looks like a lot,” he said.
Albers has met with Trent officials about potential flooding as more snow melts and plans to meet with Flandreau officials.
“I really think some of our worse damage is yet to come on some of these roads. We still have so much snow piled up,” Albers said.
Water has washed over some of the city streets, including an area by the museum and one by the city park. Township roads also have taken a beating, and at one point, there was water over Interstate 29 between the Colman and Flandreau exits, he said.
On Friday, water levels in places along that area were higher than the interstate but were being held back by snow berms. Workers continued to use heavy equipment loaders to move snow back from the southbound driving lanes.
Albers wanted to remind drivers that they should never enter a road area that is covered in water.
In many places in the county, damage to roads isn’t known yet because they were still under water late last week, he said.
“It’s way too early to start doing real true damage assessment because the water is still on the roads,” he said. Water also is crossing in areas where snow prevents it from draining somewhere else, including higher spots. “The water is going over the road in places that are not even a low spot.”
Albers has met with township officials to prepare in case the area needs to file a disaster declaration through FEMA.
In the meantime, ice on the Big Sioux River is iced over and snowpack from areas to the north hasn’t melted. Albers would like to see the river open up and start flowing.
“It looks like the river is coming up some, but it hasn’t opened up,” he said.
In addition to the water levels outside, some residential and commercial buildings have has sewers back up or leaks appear.
The Crystal Theatre had damage to its basement and had its stage curtains ruined because of a leak, said Dan Sutton with the theater board.
“We have a lake in our refinished basement,” he said. “We just spent thousands of dollars to fix it up.”
Water leaked in one side of the stage, partially tearing down a wall and damaging the curtains.
“They’re velousr so they stain and you can’t clean them,” he said.