SOUTH DAKOTA INFORMATION: People are preparing for the Big Sioux - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

SOUTH DAKOTA INFORMATION: People are preparing for the Big Sioux River to crest Friday

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DAKOTA DUNES, S.D. (KTIV) -

Downstream, officials in North Sioux City, McCook Lake and Dakota Dunes are trying to avoid the devastation up-river.

With the Big Sioux expected to crest late Friday morning, or early Friday afternoon, work is well underway to extend North Sioux City's levee across Interstate 29 to protect the city, and divert floodwaters into nearby McCook Lake. Not the town, but the lake itself.

While the river will continue to rise, it won't exceed expectations.

Lt. Gov. Matt Michels, (R) South Dakota said, "The peak level has not changed. It'll be pretty close to 1102, so we're at 1096.5 right."

Michels warned residents of McCook Lake that the sheer velocity of the water-- flowing at 120,000 cubic feet per second-- could compromise the utilities in McCook Lake.

Interstate 29 is now closed:

Officials closed it from Exit 4 by McCook Lake to Exit 26 near Vermillon.

To prevent the floodwaters from spilling over into North Sioux City, and other parts of southern Union County, crews are extending the North Sioux City levees farther west near Exit 4.

In fact, they'll actually plug the underpass at exit 4 with "hesker baskets" and sandbags.Exits 1 and 2, to Dakota Dunes, and North Sioux City, will remain open.

State officials in Union County have closes a portion of Interstate 29 to create a berm across the interstate.

DETOUR:

For those headed north on I-29 they can travel highway 20 west.Go north on Highway 12 and 15 in Nebraska.

Follow that onto Highway 19 to the Vermillion exit to S.D.-50 eastbound to I-29.

South bound on I-29 you would start at Vermillion and take the same route.

The alternate route is to take I- 80 Eastbound at Council Bluffs, Iowa.You would the travel North on I-35 to Albert Lea, Minnesota.

Go west on I-90 to Sioux Falls.

NORTH SHORE DRIVE:

The one road that authorities want you to avoid is North Shore Drive in the McCook Lake area.

Today, that road was choked with traffic.Residents were trying to get to, and from, their homes.

Volunteers, and National Guard troops, were trying to get to Dakota Valley to help with sandbags.

Authorities say if you don't have to be there, then don't go there.

You could hamper flood preparations.

SANDBAGGING:

Dozens of National Guard troops spent their day bagging sand at the Dakota Valley Elementary School.

Members of the 235th Military Police Company, who were recently deployed to Afghanistan, filled as many sandbags as they possibly could.

At the old North Sioux City weigh station, inmates from the state's prison system filled sandbags, today.

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard authorized these minimum-security inmates to help in the flood effort, on Tuesday.

The inmates came from the prison in Yankton.

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