While warmer temperatures are providing a welcome break from some of our recent colder days, however, the potential risk for flooding this spring is not so welcome.
The National Weather Service's new snow melt report indicates a high probability of moderate flooding along the Big Sioux River in Eastern South Dakota.
That's especially the case between Sioux Falls and Watertown where there's up to a 98 percent chance of major flooding.
Still, Sioux Falls officials point out, winter's not over yet.
Using today's snow totals for the season, Sioux Falls Emergency Manager Regan Smith says it’s too soon to tell whether Sioux Falls should be worried about floodwaters coming to city limits.
“It will really depend on how the rest of the winter plays out. Probably the next 4 to 6 weeks and how much snow and precipitation we get will really effect whether we are threatened,” Smith said.
City officials will meet on Monday to further discuss the National Weather Service's latest report and evaluate preparation plans.
Smith feels the city is already prepared. The diversion channel in north Sioux Falls is its first line of defense. It diverts most of the water from the Big Sioux River to the east and out of town.
The rest is controlled with the new levy system that's still under construction.
Flood control measures on the north side of Sioux Falls are designed to accommodate the vast majority of spring run off. While, you might remember Tuthill Park in Sioux Falls was under water last spring, several city parks along the river are designed to be a part of the city's flood control plan.
“City officials designed it to do that 40-50 years ago they took development out of those areas. They didn't want businesses or people living there," Smith said.
Smith says spring flooding in parks is an inconvenience, but it prevents millions of dollars in property flood damage.
Smith says the Watertown to Brookings region was hit hard this winter and there's quite a bit of snow packed in the area. Not only are they at risk for flooding, the river has a 50 percent chance of reaching flood stage.
Many communities in eastern keloland are already on alert. FEMA is working with state and local authorities to help people understand the flood outlook, flood insurance and how to protect themselves.
Town hall meetings are being held in eight communities over the next two weeks.
- January 31 - Sioux Falls, Oyate Community Center, 2421 W. 15th St., 5:30- 8:00 p.m.
- February 1 - Yankton, Fire Station #2, 201 W. 23rd Street, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
- February 2 - Watertown, Codington Co. Extension Bldg., 1910 West Kemp Avenue, 7:00- 9:00 p.m.
- February 3 - Aberdeen, Brown County Community Room, 25 Market Street, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
- February 4 - Mitchell, City Hall- Council Chambers, 612 North Main, 2:00 -4:00 p.m.
- February 7 - Rapid City, Journey Museum, 222 New York Street, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
- February 8 - Fort Pierre, Community Youth & Involved Center, 19 East Main, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
- February 9 - Brookings, City Hall Community Room, 311 3rd Avenue, 7:00-9:00 p.m.