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Officials Urge Travel Safety After Water Rescues, Shortage of Barricades

Nate Wek

 The Big Sioux River has reached record-breaking levels, and officials are stressing the need to stay away from water-covered roads.

Minnehaha County Emergency Management Director Jason Gearman says there’ve been a couple water rescues in Dell Rapids and other areas north of Sioux Falls.

“And it’s generally just people doing stupid things that they shouldn’t be doing. So please, stay away from the running water. We’re running out of barricades. If there’s water running over the road, don’t drive through it. I don’t know how many times we gotta say this, but people continue to do it.”

The Big Sioux River below Dell Rapids has reached 16.7 feet, breaking a 50 year-old record. Gearman expects water levels to remain high through Monday before they start to recede. But as long as the weather holds, he doesn’t expect further evacuations.

“There’s about seven families displaced in Dell Rapids right now and we’re deciding what to do with them. And I think there’s a couple people that stayed at the Red Cross Shelter, and again that is open through the weekend.”

There are no plans for additional sandbagging in the Sioux Falls area. Residents needing assistance or interested in volunteer cleanup efforts can call 2-1-1.