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South Dakota Monitoring Potential For Missouri River Flooding

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO AM) -  The Corp of Engineers say mountain snows are deep but flooding on the Missouri River this spring is unlikely.

Governor Daugaard says plain’s snow, limited reservoir storage and heavy spring rains contributed to major flooding in 2011.          

So Daugaard is directing state emergency officials to work with federal and local officials to watch for potential flooding.

Daugaard also asked citizens who live in flood-prone areas along the river to assess their individual situations and to pay attention to any changing conditions as warmer spring weather brings the annual snowmelt and raises flows in the river.

“The risk of flooding is not imminent or even probable at this point,’’ Gov. Daugaard said. “However, in 2011, we did not begin to receive necessary information on river conditions until just a few days before record high water began moving through the state. I will not let that happen again.’’

The Governor said the state is being aggressive in monitoring conditions, gathering information, identifying and staging potential flood-fight resources and reaching out to federal and local officials to share information and assessments and to ask questions.

Currently, the moisture equivalent of the snowpack in the Montana mountains mirrors that of 2011 at this time. Offsetting that concern is a lack of significant plains snowpack in the upper Missouri River Basin and the fact that the large reservoirs near Fort Peck, Bismarck and Pierre have more storage space than was available at this time in 2011. 

“Those mitigating factors give us some comfort level, but we intend to be vigilant and extremely proactive in monitoring conditions and getting the information we need to help us protect our state and to help our citizens protect themselves,’’ Gov. Daugaard said. “This is not a time for panic but for watchfulness, for all of us.’’

At the Governor’s direction, the Office of Emergency Management in the Department of Public Safety has conducted a risk assessment on South Dakota rivers, staged flood resources across the state, begun regular communications with officials in Missouri River communities, and engaged other appropriate state and federal agencies in information exchanges.

OEM is preparing its Facebook page to provide updated information on flood potential not only on the Missouri River but also on other rivers and lakes in South Dakota. The Facebook page will also be used to respond to questions and control rumors.