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Union County Prepares For Incoming Flood

June 18, 2014, 9:55 PM by Jared Ransom

Union County Prepares For Incoming Flood
NORTH SIOUX CITY, SD -

Emergency crews are ready and so are homeowners along the Big Sioux River. Water moving from the north is expected to reach areas like Elk Point, Jefferson and North Sioux City by Friday. Governor Dennis Daugaard addressed the seriousness of what he is calling a 100-year flooding event.

"It is a very changeable situation. As much as it is scientific, in some ways, it's very difficult to judge what will happen and when because the weather is so unpredictable," Governor Dennis Daugaard said.

A meeting at Dakota Valley High School was set up to keep everyone ahead of the incoming waters. People rushed into the building, cramming into the gymnasium, to see if their homes would be in the path of the flood.

"It's going to be close. It's going to be close. North Shore Drive is going to be inundated, McCook Lake. The thing that has us worried is whether McCook Lake will flood from the back side," Alan Stokely said.

"Get our generators hooked up in case they shut the electricity off on us again. We're going to stay put. I'm going to put my boat out on the driveway and we'll float out if we have to," Dennis Kuhn said.

I-29 between Exit 4 and Exit 26 will be closed starting at noon on Thursday as a system of sandbags set up by the National Guard will help channel the floodwater into McCook Lake.  It's a step never seen before, not even during the floods of 2011.

"I've been here my whole life and I've never heard of it or seen it, but let's see what happens," Stokely said.

Emergency officials have offered all the information they can. A lot of what will happen over the next few days, including water amounts, remains unknown and always changing.

Hundreds of people are preparing for a flooding event that could happen any time between Thursday night and Saturday morning.  The fact that this is a small community could work in their favor.

"In a small community, everyone will help everyone. If you need a hand, all you have to do is make one call and there's going to be 10 people coming, so that's nice," Stokely said.

The traffic traveling on I-29 will be diverted several miles east and west to avoid the anticipated flooded areas. At noon Thursday, people along McCook Lake will be visited by city crews to get an update on the flooding levels and an evacuation plan could be set up if needed.

Union County officials have also set up a flood website to keep everyone updated on this flooding event. 

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