Rain fills storm sewers, floods roads, yards
By Katie Zerr-
Rain fell hard and fast on Wednesday, June 18, with a record 3.45 inches falling in less than two hours in the Bridge City.
Streets flooded quickly as storm sewers became overwhelmed by the amount of rain that fell. Localized flash flooding occurred on Grand Crossing and on side streets. The intersection of First Avenue West and Ninth Street filled quickly as the drain basin could not keep up with the rainfall.
Mobridge Water Department Manager Brad Milliken said with the amount of flash flooding that occurred, he was surprised there wasn’t more damage to roads and culverts in the area. He said the ground was saturated from recent rain and the water did not soak in like it normally would.
“We got a lot of rain in a very short time. There were places that flooded that haven’t flooded in 20 years or so,” he said. “The system couldn’t keep up. Although we got those areas blocked off as soon as we could, we had a hard time keeping people out of the flooded areas.”
Milliken said he understands why people want to see the flooded areas for themselves, but driving through the water is dangerous. If the water has displaced the manhole cover, vehicles can hit the open manhole and tires and suspensions can be ruined. Vehicle motors can also be ruined by the floodwaters.
When vehicles are driven through the standing water it causes wakes that push over curbs and into yards, flooding basements and doing more damage than the initial rainfall.
“We had people driving around the barriers,” he said. “We were standing right there and they would go around us.”
He said kids want to play in the backed-up water, but that, too, is dangerous. They could be sucked into drains or into uncovered manholes and be injured or drowned.
Milliken said there were some areas that flooded that brought some problems to light and those will be fixed, which will help to prevent this kind of flooding from happening again.
It rained again on Saturday, June 21, with Mobridge receiving an additional .88 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). So far in June, according to the NWS, 7.30 inches of rain fell in Mobridge. Since Jan.1, 13.42 inches of precipitation have fallen here, which is 4.95 inches above average for the year.
On Saturday, severe thunderstorms pushed through north central South Dakota, with funnel clouds spotted near Whitehorse and Miller and hail falling in parts of the area. Most communities in the Mobridge area reported receiving three or more inches of rain. In McLaughlin, it was reported 5.3 inches of rain fell and in Gettysburg, 4.7 inches of rain was recorded.
Local flooding was reported in White Horse and Wakpala and along the Cheyenne and Grand Rivers. U.S. Highway 12 was closed for a time as the water flowed over the bridge just west of the Grand River Casino, but was opened again when the water receeded.