Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pierre and Ft. Pierre flooding

Unfortunately the photos to be taken in the Pierre/Fort Pierre area of South Dakota this Memorial Day weekend are not fun ones. Due to record rainfall upstream in Montana and North Dakota the Missouri River is rising faster than the riverbanks or the dams along the river can handle.

Pierre and Fort Pierre are both experiencing and will continue to see more water than since the dams were completed in the early 1960s. For those of you not familiar with the area, Oahe Dam sits just a few miles above the towns of Pierre and Fort Pierre. The Corps of Engineers is unable to hold the amount of water we have coming in behind the dam, so have to let it flow through.

For those in the low-lying areas of the two towns it means evacuating, sandbagging, and hoping for the best, but the predicted high-water levels go up as each day comes. People are banding together to help neighbors move their things out and sandbag around their homes. The National Guard has arrived to begin building dirt levees on both sides of the river. However, it looks like many, many homes and businesses will have water damage before it's over and some flooding is predicted to continue into July.

To keep out of the way of emergency crews working, I did not go where the worst of the water is to take photos. I've been helping fill sandbags and will be assisting building a sandbag wall around a home this afternoon. Like I said, not a fun photography time.

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