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January 27, 2011 09:57 PM

98 Percent Chance Of Major Big Sioux Flooding

renner, sd


As temperatures rise this spring, so will rivers and streams. In some spots they could reach record levels.

A flood report released today says there's a 98 percent chance that some cities along the Big Sioux River will see major flooding.

That's news people who live around Renner don't want to hear. They were battling floodwaters in September and October, and at some homes the sump pumps were still running in November.

When KELOLAND News visited Tim Wenzel in October of 2010 his basement was still soggy. Now it's dried out. He's replaced his furnace and several other appliances. He says the fall flood taught him lessons he's ready to put to use this spring.

Tim Wenzel still hasn't finished repairing his backyard shop from the fall flood that swallowed it up.

“It came right in, Wenzel said. “It was probably close to a foot in here.” You can see the mold in the walls where I haven't replaced the sheetrock.

And most of this damage wasn't covered by his flood insurance policy. That's one thing he's already fixed, even if it means his deductible doubled.

“There's just a lot of little things and I probably spent money out of pocket after it was all said and done,” Wenzel said.

Wenzel also learned his house sits higher than many of his neighbors. So if a spring flood does come, he hopes the elevation will help.

“You keep the snow away from the house, Wenzel said. “Move it away as best you can. When it starts to break up you give it channels for a place to go.”

Residents call the floodwaters that filled Renner last fall an anomaly compared with other historic floods. They came from a different direction at a different time of year.

“If you've ever been to the ocean and you felt that pull, that's exactly what it felt like,” Wenzel said. “That was just running across the road.”

It was also the first flood Wenzel had faced there. With the latest prediction for a more typical, spring flood, he may have a chance to do it all over again.

“Got an extra sump pump,” Wenzel said. “Gonna punch another hole in the wall if it does start coming through the walls again.”
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