BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — As of around 5:00 Friday night, the city of Brookings still did not have power following Thursday’s heavy weather, according to city spokesperson Chelsie Bakken. However, shortly before 7:30, Brookings Mayor Ope Niemeyer said via text message “we are slowly getting our electricity on line by sectors.”
The Brookings County Commission on Friday declared a state of emergency due to the damage. Like many people in Brookings, Paul Setnes has been been working to clear debris, but he didn’t do it all himself.
“The neighbor across the street, he knew a guy with a Bobcat, who was happen to be going by, and he flagged him down,” Setnes said. “And the guy says ‘I’ll be back in about a half an hour,’ and he was, and he cleaned up all of this for me.”
“Some of the private buildings got damaged,” Niemeyer said. “You can see on the south end of town, there’s some roof damage, some new construction that has, severely damaged on the south side of town.”
Many stoplights were not working Friday afternoon. City manager Paul Briseno says crews have been picking up since Thursday night.
“Worked ’til about 1:00 this morning, great, can’t say enough great things about our city staff and what they’re doing for this community,” Briseno said. “They were out here this morning, cleaning up. We have cleaned about 80% of the trees in the streets.”
Another concern as crews assess the damage is the water supply.
“Conserve water as much as possible,” Briseno said. “Our system is becoming critically low, and for fire suppression, it’s critical that we all do our part. Even when the electricity comes on, we’re going to have to take some time to refill those water towers.”
Niemeyer says this is the time to check in on neighbors and loved ones.
“Be kind, be patient,” Niemeyer said. “If your neighbor needs some help or you haven’t seen your neighbor yet, check on them, make sure they’re okay, like I said we’re not aware of any injuries or anything, but this is a stressful situation for a lot of people.”
The mayor said he hopes crews are able to begin picking up debris on private property on Monday.