Dakota Dunes officials ask folks to flee coming flood waters
By Forrest Saunders, Multimedia Journalist - email
Dakota Dunes, SD (KTIV) -
With a record amount of flood water headed this way from upstream dams on the Missouri River, South Dakota officials are encouraging all Dakota Dunes residents to be out of their homes by Thursday. As the releases increase, it's a race downstream to beat rising waters.
There are 1,100 homes and 360 apartments in Dakota Dunes, a planned community created about 20 years ago. State, county and local officials are teaming up to create a levee that would be about ten feet tall and run the distance along the river of Dakota Dunes.
The state will even use a Black Hawk helicopter to move large sandbags to a weak spot along the 18th hole on the Dunes' golf course.
That starts Tuesday morning.
"It's a horse race for us right now. We're trying to get in as much levee as we can, we want to protect your homes and we are doing our very best ," said the spokesman for South Dakota's Type-II Incident Management Team, Joe Lowe.
While there's no mandatory evacuation in place, officials expect one in the near future. When that happens they say they'll stagger it. Moving people out as the water rises.
For now, it's a voluntary evacuation for residents in low lying areas. But, officials say move out now, before it's too late.
"Right now, conditions are favorable for you to evacuate and move things out. It becomes problematic in an evacuation if we come knock on your door, because you are going to have to expedite everything at that point," said Lowe.
Officials still don't know how high water levels could get in the Dakota Dunes area. They say they're reviewing information from the Army Corps of Engineers.
Many in that community are heeding the warning though, packing their belongings and getting out. Around almost every corner in the Dakota Dunes development there are moving trucks. People getting stuff out of basements and living rooms. Putting it either in trucks or on higher floors in their homes.
One family we caught up with was moving a large fridge from their basement, which took about nine people to get up the stairs.
They said they'll be staying with family until waters return to normal.
"We want to save our stuff. Not that the stuff means anything, at least we have our health, but we need to clear it out," said home owner Lisa Leopold.
Another man in the area, Jerry Weimer, said he was expecting a foot of water in the main floor of his house. What makes things worse, he has no flood insurance because he's not listed in a flood plain.
He was moving belongings on to a truck too. And said he's not feeling his best.
"Not very good, especially because we're not in the flood plain, it's kind of hard to swallow," said Weimer.
We'll bring you more from a public meeting held at 5:30 Monday night coming up on NewsChannel Four at ten.
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