Is 2014 A Sequel To The 2011 Floods?

Mar 7, 2014

Governor Dennis Daugaard is asking state residents along the Missouri River to be ready in case 2014 brings a repeat of the 2011 floods that devastated towns up and down the Mighty Mo.

Officials stress that flooding is not guaranteed this year, but that the potential remains.

High water roars out of the Oahe Dam in June of 2011.

Brad Lawrence is the Public Works Director Fort Pierre.  He watches the river and mountain snow pack closely.  Lawrence was among the first to raise red flags about flood possibility in the early spring of 2011.

Lawrence points to a few factors that he says call for close monitoring this year.  He says the water in mountain snow pack in some areas is slightly higher than it was in 2011.  He also notes the ground along many parts of the river basin is also saturated.  He says right now the possibility of flooding depends on runoff timing and the amount of spring rains.

“Those are some of the things that we have to look out for is that if we get those high concentrations of moisture in May and June then we’re going to have some problems.  If we don’t there is a pretty good chance that’s spread out throughout the year – the we won’t have the problem, says Lawrence

But Lawrence says the good news is there is more storage in Missouri River Reservoirs this year than in 2011.  He says the hope is for even runoff with normal spring and summer rains.    

Lawrence adds that if a repeat of the 2011 flooding were to occur, towns like Fort Pierre won’t be able to afford to pay for mitigation.  He says the city is still paying off some of the costs incurred in 2011.