“Monster” Storm Leaves Sioux Falls Underwater

Sioux Falls sees strongest rain event in more than 10 years

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Thursday night’s rainfall came and went just as quickly as the flood waters themselves. But not before leaving a trail of destruction in its recession.

And the event itself was one that those in this area will remember for quite some time.

“We had a rainfall event last night that we haven’t seen around here in quite a while,” says Todd Heitkamp of the National Weather Service. “The last time we’ve had rainfall like this was in 2004.”

And even then, what happened 2004 was nothing quite like what was seen Thursday night.

“That’s unbelievable,” he adds, “that’s a lot of water coming down in a short period of time.”

At one point he says, rain was falling at 3 in. or more an hour.

A Flash Flood Warning soon made streets look more like rivers and businesses more like pools. And Friday, Sioux Fall’s officials say it was a great effort from all areas.

 “We did have mutual aid from Hartford Fire and the South Dakota Air National Guard Fire,” commented Emergency City Manager, Regan Smith.

The quick rushing waters caught many people off guard, which put drivers in a situation they could not control – leaving many people stranded.

And still more people pressing their luck, says Chief Doug Barthel of the Sioux Falls Police Dept., “There were also a number of people that chose to ignore some of that and decided to drive through it anyway.”

But Heitkamp says that it’s in disasters like these that drivers need to learn from their actions.

“Otthers were taking advantage of the opportunity to test their vehicle out to see how much water would actually cause it to flood or float and that’s the situation that we need to try to avoid.”

Many roadways buckled due to the fast moving water. Sounds of construction machines could be heard across the area.

However, despite the rare rain event, Mayor Mike Huether says that he is proud the city for keeping everyone safe.

“We’re going to get better,” says Mayor Huether, “and that’s the one thing about Sioux Falls that I just love; is that we do work in a collaborative way.”

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