Snow misses Mobridge, slams West River


– By Katie Zerr

Although the greater portion of the Mobridge area dealt with heavy rain and strong northeast winds, resident in this area were lucky compared to those who live in west and southwest South Dakota.

In Mobridge during the weekend storm, Friday, Oct. 4 and Saturday, Oct. 5, 3.11 inches of rain fell in Mobridge according to the National Weather Service. Winds ranged from sustained winds 31 mph with gust of 62 mph on Friday to 26.5 mph on Saturday with more than 50 mph gusts.

Law enforcement received no reports of structure damage in Mobridge, but there were multiple reports of tree damage.

Branches and sometimes whole trees were broken and leaves were blown across the city, including a large pine tree being blown over in the Mobridge City Park.

The rain total on Friday in Mobridge was 2.42 inches, which was a one-day record for that date. On Saturday, .69 inches was added to the total.

The rain total for Mobridge in September and October so far is 6.48 inches according to the National Weather Service.

To the west, rain turned to snow and driven by winds that gusted over 70 mph during the storm, causing roads, business and offices to close throughout the area.

Pollock received 2.38 inches of rain, but no snow; Timber Lake received more than 4 inches of rain with periodic snow; but McIntosh received 1.77 inches of precipitation, equaling 8 inches of snow with high drifts from the wind.


West River damage

In Lemmon, 19 inches of snow fell. In Bison, 24 inches of snow was reported.

According to Ted Schweitzer, emergency manager for Dewey County, there were many reports of storm damage, with nearly 400 electric poles being snapped in the wind and snow. He said the majority of those were in Corson County, but Moreau Grand Cooperative crews were working hard to restore power to all of the customers in the area. He said most of the people have had the power restored, but there were some in Corson County who were still without power.

He said in Isabel, close to a foot of snow fell during the two-day storm. In Dupree there was a foot of snow on the ground by Saturday night.

Schweitzer said a big concern now is loss of cattle. With the spring calves for sale, many producers may lose a good portion of their yearly profits. With the shutdown of certain areas of government, including the Farm Service Agency offices, Schweitzer said producers are going to have a difficult time recovering from those losses.

“Producers need to document, document, document these losses,” he said. “If they don’t they many never receive compensation for the worth of those cattle.”

He said it is very important that producers take pictures and have a third party view the losses.

Schweitzer said he has had sporadic loss reports, but expects that to be higher in the western portion of Corson County.

Bill Schell, Corson County’s emergency manager, said he saw five or six cows on the road as he was plowing snow during the storm and had reports of loss that equals about 20 head so far.

“We are just starting to get reports,” he said. “There are people flying over the pastures to count the losses in the south- west counties, but I don’t think there is anything like that happening here.”

According to Schweitzer, there are as many as 1.5 million head of cattle in western and southwestern South Dakota. Estimates are anywhere from a 5 percent to 20 percent loss. Schell said he had heard a 20 percent estimate earlier in the day.

According to reports, producers suffered heavy cattle losses in the blizzard, and their recovery could be hampered by the expiration of government livestock disaster programs. Some producers are reporting losses of 15 to 20 percent of their herds.

U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem of South Dakota said the pending farm bill would reauthorize livestock disaster programs retroactively, but Congress has so far not passed a new farm bill.


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