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Flooding Very Likely Again This Spring

February 12, 2010, 5:58 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Flooding Very Likely Again This Spring
TACOMA PARK, SD - More snow is the last thing people still recovering from last year's flooding want to see. 

A thick snow pack and fast snow melt across northern South Dakota gave rivers more than they could handle last spring. And it could happen again.

As snow piles grow in and around Tacoma Park, homeowner Mike McCafferty hopes they shrink slowly.

"And if not, I think we're going to be facing what we did last year or even worse," McCafferty said.

The James River usually flows alongside Tacoma Park but flowed through it last spring.

"Now of course this year, we were hoping we'd get a break in it but doesn't look like we're going to," McCafferty said.

The National Weather Service in Aberdeen has some numbers to back up that concern.

"Right now, it's a for certain that there's going to be some flooding taking place. There's some uncertainty as to the amounts," meteorologist David Hintz said.

Hintz says this time last year, there was about two-and-a-half to five inches of water in the snow pack. This year, it's four to seven inches.

But as the snow keeps piling up, Hintz says to consider we also haven't hit the historically snowiest stretch of winter.

"So there are a lot of factors that play into the flood outlook that haven't been realized yet," Hintz said.

Those factors could bring a dryer spring if the snow stops falling and melts gradually. But at McCafferty's summer home along the river, he knows he could see the opposite too.

"I'm planning on that way and if it goes the other way, then great," McCafferty said.

To make matters worse, the ground is already saturated and lakes and ponds are already full from the wet fall.

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