SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The potential for spring flooding is on a lot of minds in southeast KELOLAND. In an effort to be prepared for what could happen over the next few months, officials with the City of Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County are undergoing some state-sponsored flood operations training this week.
From Renner to Dell Rapids to Sioux Falls, communities in southeast South Dakota have dealt with a lot of flooding over the past year. Minnehaha County Emergency Management Director Jason Gearman hopes this spring will be less dramatic.
“In cases like in Renner, there’s some houses now that are gone that were continually flooding throughout the year. Dell Rapids has a really robust program similar to the city about buying houses. So there’s ten less houses that are in that flood plain in Dell Rapids that are flooded often that they don’t have to worry about this year,” Gearman said.
Gearman says that means flood rescues should be down. Still, he and other emergency personnel from the area are attending flood operations training in Sioux Falls this week.
“Right now, Minnehaha County is sitting pretty good. There’s a lot of snow left up north but it’s not the amount it was last year. However, that Sioux River basin is drenched with water right now. It’s as high as it’s ever been. Something is going to happen but we just hope it’s maybe minimal to moderate,” Gearman said.
Sioux Falls Emergency Manager Regan Smith is cautiously optimistic heading into flood season but urges people to know their risk and prepare their homes accordingly.
“Definitely the threat is high and what we went through last year, I think there’s a heightened awareness this year,” Smith said.
Because of that, Smith says efforts are underway to build up a stockpile of sandbags.
“The city and the county has secured a warehouse site. We’ll be working with the Department of Corrections and we’re going to pre-build some bags,” Smith said.
“It will help because we won’t be scrambling to make sandbags. It will take our resources back to where we can use them for other places instead of doing the sandbags because they’ll already be made,” Gearman said.
Adding one more level of readiness for first responders.
Smith says homeowners can start getting ready now by decluttering gutters and downspouts. They can also make sure their sump pumps are working and they have a backup battery. Smith and city officials will talk about the potential for spring flooding again this Friday at a news conference at 10:30 a.m.