KINGSBURY COUNTY, S.D. (KELO) — Flood concerns continue in KELOLAND, and on Saturday South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem set out to visit Lake Thompson and Lake Poinsett.
“We just got to wait for mother nature to give us a break. We’re getting rains every twenty-four to forty-eight hours and if we could miss a dozen of those rains, I think we’d be fine,” Ryan Sauter, Lake Thompson resident said.
Ryan Sauter lives near Lake Thompson. He says this year the lake water levels reached an all-time high.
“In 2011 it actually crested like in the end of April. And it was gone off the roads down probably by three feet, four feet by the end of July. This year, we crested in July,” Sauter said.
Sauter says the main issue for Lake Thompson is the lake hasn’t been able to flow into the Vermillion River like it’s supposed to.
“There’s a lot of vegetation down there that’s holding up the flow,” Sauter said.
Governor Noem says the next step is getting professionals in to do some evaluations on the flooding. Locals just hope that things are fixed before winter comes.
“We’ll do an engineering study, then take that to the water board who really are the experts that make this decision for all these types of situations across the state. They’ll make a decision on if that kind maintenance is something that should be pursued and then we as a state will make that decision as well as to other things we can do,” Govenor Kristi Noem said.
Sauter’s hope is that the area will get some sort of normalcy before the weather starts to cool down for the year.
“So if we have three months, four months and winter comes, and that ice forms out here and next Spring it’s going to be very devasting. These houses are going to be in trouble,” Sauter said.
Govenor Noem says that if you have questions about flooding in your area, you can call the department of public safety. She also says there are FEMA offices all over the state where you can get help.
“Right now people don’t really know what’s out there. And they don’t know how to cope with what they’re going through. And a lot of people are stressed financially. We have a lot of farmers and ranchers that have been impacted as well. So call us. Call the govenor’s office, the public safety department and we’ll get you all the answers to the questions that you need. And just know that you’re not going through it alone,” Gov. Noem said.
Right now there are five FEMA offices open in South Dakota- two mobile ones in addition to locations in Pine Ride, Eagle Butte, and Rosebud. The Eagle Butte location is set to close next Wednesday.
To contact the Department of Public Safety, call (605) 773-3178 or visit their website.