Union County, SD residents prepare for flooding - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Union County, SD residents prepare for flooding

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NORTH SIOUX CITY, S.D. (KTIV) -
The aftermath of the severe storms we've seen in Siouxland has now shifted to flooding.
    
This is especially true in southeast South Dakota, where flooding on the Big Sioux River is expected to hit record levels, and threaten some homes.

To prepare, an informational meeting was held at Dakota Valley high school Wednesday.

With a state of emergency in effect in South Dakota, National Guard soldiers have been brought in to help begin building levees and sandbagging in both Dakota Dunes and North Sioux City.
    
Wednesday, the public got a look at exactly what they could be dealing with in the coming days.

South Dakota officials expect the Big Sioux River to rise as much as 20 feet to a new record of 110 feet.
    
The river is expected to crest on Friday afternoon, with flood waters reaching Interstate 29.
    
In North Sioux City, I-29 north of North Shore Drive is likely to be under water.
    
The city is expanding levees at the North Shore exit all the way to the McCook Lake exit, as well as building another levee underneath the overpass on exit 4.
    
Another levee, in the southern part of North Sioux City, which was built in the 1970s, is considered structurally sound.
    
In Dakota Dunes, the levees on the Big Sioux side are being built up in an effort to combat rising water.
    
There is an evacuation plan in place, but officials say they don't plan to use it - at least not right now.

"That's why we're building all these levees, that's why we're doing all the things that we're doing, is so that we can maintain some sense of normalcy, get through this five or six-day thing, and then move on from that and get back to life as normal." said Dakota Dunes CID manager Jeff Dooley.

Measures are being taken to combat the flooding - Interstate 29 will be shut down at noon Thursday.
    
Meeting officials urged residents to consider sandbagging their properties, as well as moving as many things from their basements as possible.
    
But many residents are preparing for the worst, and they know the threat of these floods is very real.

"Just the unknown, not knowing what's going to happen to a lot of friends, family and everybody around the area," said Lauri Langley.
Officials at the meeting also addressed the Wynstone and Deer Run communities.
    
They say flooding in those areas doesn't seem very likely.
    
But, people in those communities should still take precautionary measures.

State officials expect floodwaters to reach, and cover, Interstate 29.
    
At noon on Thursday, they'll close I-29, from Exit 4 by McCook Lake to Exit 26 near Vermillon.
    
To prevent the flood waters from spilling over into North Sioux City, and other parts of southern Union County, crews will extend the North Sioux City levees farther west across Interstate 29 at Exit 4.
    
Exits 1 and 2, to Dakota Dunes, and North Sioux City, will remain open.

Previous Story:
South Dakota officials are now saying that flooding concerns in Lincoln County are now moving South.

They are now preparing for record flooding in Union County in the next few days.

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard held a press conference in Elk Point, South Dakota today to discuss concerns with the Big Sioux River.

This comes after he declared a state of emergency Tuesday - and brought in 120 soldiers from the national guard to help with sandbagging and levee building.

During the press conference, the state director for emergency management, Kristie Turman, said that she expects the Big Sioux to rise as much as 19 feet by Friday.

For perspective, the highest the gauge in Sioux City has recorded the Big Sioux is at 108-point-3 feet.

A rise of 19 feet would bring the Big Sioux to 109 to 110 feet.

Governor Daugaard says this will cause the state to shut down interstate 29 in North Sioux City - they're hoping to build a sandbag levee that will divert the flooding into McCook Lake.

But that will leave residents living in that part of North Sioux at a serious risk.

"I'm very concerned," said Daugaard. "I think this is going to be a major record flood event on the Sioux River. I think the levee that was built years ago to protect part of North Sioux City, as mayor Fuxa said, is going to protect some. But many others in the McCook Lake area will receive damage."

Now as you just heard, Governor Daugaard is very concerned, especially for the people in McCook Lake.

There's a meeting at Dakota Valley high school here in North Sioux City starting at 6:30.

He's urging everyone that can come out to this meeting here at Dakota Valley tonight to do so.

Daugaard expects there will be much more information available at the meeting, including inundation maps that will have much more information on the flooding and detour plans for the interstate.

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