SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Clark County still has roads covered from flooding in 2018 and 2019, said county emergency manager David Lewis.
“They are still flooded and remain closed,” Lewis said. Some of the roads are near Dry Lake #1 and Dry Lake #2 in the county.
The winter, spring and summer for 2018-2019 did change the landscape of Clark County.
People were able to farm Dry Lake #2 before the 1990s. The lake began to fill in the 1990s and roughly four and five years ago, the water level and acreage of the lake increased again, Lewis said.
The county received around 12 inches of snow in this week’s storm adding to the inches that have piled up this winter. Lewis estimated he had 30 inches of snow at his residence in the northwestern part of the county.
Forecasted highs in the 40s and even 60s early next week will melt some snow, but Lewis isn’t expecting any big flooding problems. Definitely none like in 2018 and 2019.
“Most roads shouldn’t have much flooding because of the dry conditions (before winter),” Lewis said. “That being said, some culverts could get blocked and may not be open during the rapid melting process.”
National Weather Service meteorologist Megan Mulford said on the morning of April 6 that the day’s flood forecast did not show widespread chances of flooding.
The NWS said there is a 95% chance of the Big Sioux River hitting flood stage or beyond in several areas of Watertown, but the flooding at worst would be moderate or minor.
Codington County Highway Superintendent Rick Hartley said he’s not overly concerned about flooding in the county but he will be monitoring the county.
The Big Sioux River could cause some flooding at 159th Street. “If we get a lot of run off from the north…,” Hartley said. Water could run over the road but generally, when that happens it doesn’t cause too much damage, he said.
There’s another county road north of South Dakota Highway 20 that has a built-in spillway with riprap. “If we get a lot of (melted snow) from the east…,” Hartley said it could require the road to be closed. The road would be closed until the water level decreased.
Mulford said dry conditions before the snow fell this winter, along with low water levels in rivers, creeks and similar water bodies means that some melting snow will be absorbed in the soil and water bodies can carry a lot of melted snow.
In low-lying areas where the frost is still deep, some streets and roads could get flooded during the snow melt, Mulford said.
Also, there is 34 inches of frost in the soil near Aberdeen, Mulford said. Melting snow may run off into some streets in the city, she said.
Hartley said there are areas of Codington County that have been covered with snow and road ditches that are still full of snow. Melting snow water will find a path through the snow, even crossing some roads, he said.
If the public notices water getting near roads, they need to contact the county because the road may need to be closed, Hartley said.
Lewis said he recently dug into the soil in Raymond. “I cleaned out culverts in Raymond…and dug into two feet of snow,” he said. When he got to the soil, there was no frost.
The county highway crew has done a nice job of adding rocks to protect the roads along sloughs which will help prevent runoff from reaching the roads, Lewis said.
There are also chances of some ice jams on rivers that could cause localized flooding, Mulford said.
The NWS said in its April 6 flood forecast that “potential ice jam flooding will be determined by how fast the ice melts and how much additional flow can get into the rivers to raise and break up the existing ice cover before it melts.”
Mulford said conditions can change that will impact potential flooding. The NWS would announce any changes in the forecast through social media, she said.