Kevin Schuelke, head of Grant County Emergency Management Services, reports most of the water starting to flood throughout the county, “came down from the hills adding to our snow melt.” But, he says, “Big Stone Lake is now the biggest concern. Because the lake is a foot higher, Grant County Emergency Management, in cooperation with Big Stone County, will continue to monitor the lake’s levels. Crews are standing watch and excavators are positioned at the discharge gate to clear ice jams.” Hartford Beach was set up as a sandbagging location on Saturday. Volunteers can also pick up and fill sandbags in Ortonville and Big Stone City.
Schuelke also reports, “Thursday night the Wilmot and Milbank fire departments sandbagged the railroad tracks in Corona. Even that effort was not able to keep the floodwaters at bay. The South Dakota Office of Emergency Management declared Corona was in an emergency situation. Authorization was given to cut the blacktop roads in three spots to create a channel for the water to flow. Gravel roads in the area were also affected and were either extremely soft or flooded. On Saturday, the water began to recede and things started to stabilize in Corona.”
In the Milbank area, Schuelke says,”Township and county roads are still experiencing low-lying flooding. County crews are constantly working to clear culverts and ice jams. Schuelke says cool temperatures at night with thawing during the days should keep things controllable.”
“Spring temperatures mean we will continue to eat away at the snowpack,” Schuelke predicts. “Anything faster, and we would see a lot more inundation of rivers and overland flooding.” He warns all drivers, “This trend will continue for the foreseeable future. Please use caution as many secondary roads are still underwater.”
This evening, Schuelke updated The Valley Express with this report: “Overland flooding has receded, but many secondary roads remain closed. Rivers are flowing at high levels with some localized flooding. This will continue along with the snowmelt.” He says crews remain vigilant in breaking up ice dams to keep the water flowing. He also says, “Higher temps later this week could escalate the remaining snowmelt and result in higher flow.”
Photos: Top- Big Stone Lake dam, Center- Aerial of Wilmot (Submitted by Grant County EMS) Bottom- Ice Chunks at the Foot of Big Stone Lake