Lake Poinsett residents stay positive as flooding continues

Local News

It seems as though we can’t catch a break from all of the rain this year.

That’s especially true in one southeastern South Dakota community.

On April 27, Lake Poinsett crested and ever since then it seemed as though the water was slowly going down. However, parts of Hamlin County have received more than eight inches of rain in the last ten days. All of that water has to work its way through Lake Poinsett.

“It just keeps raining, I don’t know,” Lake Poinsett home-owner Helen Jacobsen said.

“Water is just so powerful, so powerful,” Jacobsen said.

Helen Jacobsen and her husband Boyd have owned a home in Lake Poinsett for over 40 years. They’ve watched as water damaged their neighbor’s houses and encompassed their own.

“This has been a bad one. I think maybe this is one of the worst. Because it started early and we had rains early and then it started melting the water, the ice and then it started coming up and we knew it was going to be bad so we couldn’t do anything until the ice was gone, can’t sandbag until ice is gone. We sandbagged several times and this is the last time we did it,” Jacobsen said.

Just after the Fourth the Jacobsens and other residents had to sandbag once again because of the rising lake levels.

“The lake is nice so you kind of put up with it, I guess,” Jacobsen said.

Hamlin County Emergency Manager David Schaefer says it’s been a tough year for everyone.

“I never thought we would be almost the middle of July and starting to sandbag again. But there’s been a lot of protective measures already done as far as shoreline stablization because that’s where we’ve seen the greatest amount of damage so far at Lake Poinsett this year,” Hamlin County Emergency Manager David Schaefer said.

The county has set up a filling station just off of Highway 81 next to the lake. Schaefer says they had already gone through 70,000 sandbags prior to the latest rainfalls.

“Sandbags only do so much at a lake and I know there’s people that have sandbagged two or three times,” Schaefer said.

Helen Jacobsen says even though it’s tough, you just have to keep working.

“Keep at it. Hopefully nobody gets too depressed because it doesn’t do any good. Eveybody’s in the same boat, everybody helps each other and that’s what we do,” Jacobsen said.

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