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April 18, 2011 06:00 PM

Thune Tours Flooded Lake Thompson

lake thompson, sd


With more rain in the forecast this week, homeowners around Lake Thompson are feeling hopeless in their fight against floodwaters.
  Monday, Senator John Thune got a first hand look at the high water and the damage it's leaving behind.

Gary Justesen is in the same boat as a lot of people living around Lake Thompson. He has to use a four wheeler to cross the floodwaters in order to get to his home.  And the more it rains, the more frustrated he becomes. 

"We don't know where the end is, obviously we don't and it becomes very difficult to stay positive on a daily basis," Justesen said.

That's why the people who live along Lake Thompson invited Thune to come tour the area.

"I've traveled this area of South Dakota a lot over the years and I've never seen water like this," Thune said.

They've posted make shift signs restricting travel only to four wheelers to try and cut back on the damage to the roads.

After seeing it first hand, Thune say there is no quick fix. 

"Whether we get a dry year next year or not, we need to get this problem fixed," Thune said.

Thune says it's going to take cooperation between county, state and federal governments to improve the drainage out of the lake. 

"We want to help in any way we can in creating the types of partnerships that are necessary to get something put in place so that in future years we can drain this area and we don't have this thing backing up like it is now and creating all this hardship for the people who live here," Thune said. 

That fix can't come soon enough for the people who live here, who fear strong winds could make a bad situation even worse.

"We are waiting for the big blow to come out of the south and we know it will come and it will do horrific shoreline damage," Justesen said.

Besides fixing the drainage out of Lake Thompson, the county is going to have to pay to repair roads in the area.

The only way that's going to happen is if it gets a disaster declaration to get federal money.
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