Heavy Rains Inundate Region Closing Roads, Schools

SOUTH DAKOTA – With close to a foot of rain reported in some areas over the past 48 hours, major roads are closed and evacuations are once again underway as rivers rise, fields and waterways flood, and sewer systems are overwhelmed.

The South Dakota Highway Patrol is updating via social media its most up-to-date road closures. As of early Thursday morning, traffic on the interstate near Mitchell was being rerouted. Drivers in other areas continue to try and plow through roadways once again covered in water. That’s never a good idea, officials say.

In Madison, a no travel advisory remains in effect. Emergency management officials say every major highway is under water to some degree, according to Chief Justin Meyer. He tells KDLT News that dozens of people have been evacuated from their homes. Evacuations have been underway since about 2 a.m. More than five inches of rain fell yesterday, another four to five he believes, fell overnight. The department is doing what it can to respond to calls for help with evacuations, stalled vehicles, and flooded basements. These images and video are from Aaron Verhey, a resident in town.

A temporary shelter has been set up in Madison through the Red Cross at the City Armory. Chief Meyer says there are around 20-25 people currently there affected by the floods. He asks that people stay home if at all possible today or call before you go anywhere. There is very limited power within the city, many businesses will be closed, and a number of roads that are impassable aren’t necessarily marked because city officials have run out of barricades.

Flood stages this morning were reported as having gone from moderate to major in a number of communities, especially along the Big Sioux River. Businesses and communities to the east, such as Flandreau, Dell Rapids and Garretson are being forced to deal with another round of flooding, on the heels of a devastating winter and spring.

Officials in communities where there is flooding are recommending you call ahead before you head out anywhere to ensure both your own safety, but that the business is also open.

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