Dickey County recovering from as much as 10 inches of rain

Farm Forum

Tuesday night’s storm featured the wind, Wednesday’s the water.

But Dickey County residents in North Dakota got plenty of rain — from 5 to 10 inches combined, according to the National Weather Service — both days.

Dickey County Emergency Manager Charlie Russell said there was so much rain, ditches were overflowing.

“If you try to put 5 pounds of poop into a 1-pound bag, the extra poop’s gotta go somewhere,” he said, using a colorful analogy.

“In addition to what we’ve received, we’ve also got water coming down from Jud and filling up our ditches,” he said this morning. “Pheasant Lake is already over the spillway.”

As of Thursday afternoon, all of the highways in Dickey County were open, but many “back country township roads” were still under water, Russell said.

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for Dickey County on Wednesday night, citing all of the rain and many flooded roads. It was set to expire late Thursday.

Russell said water will be moving out of the area for another four or five days and that he spoke to Brown County Emergency Manager Scott Meints, advising him that “we’ll be dumping a ton of water down on Aberdeen.”

“About the only thing that means (for Brown County) is there will be a pretty good rise at Elm Lake,” Meints said.

The rising water could cause issues with boat lifts and docks, he said.

Additionally, he predicts the Elm River coming out of Elm Lake will get pretty close to flood stage.

Meints said the only reports of storm damage he heard Thursday morning involved a few downed branches.

Things were worse to the north.

“The water over the roads is the main damage we’ve seen,” Russell said.

He said people need to stay away from areas that look flooded.

“If you don’t have business here, stay out,” he said.

Wednesday night’s storm soaked Aberdeen around 10:30 p.m., dropping 1.25 inches of rain, according to the NWS.

“It sounds like last night’s storm wasn’t as bad as Tuesday night’s,” meteorologist James Telken said Thursday morning.

He said that the area in South Dakota that recorded the most rainfall was Long Lake in McPherson County with 3.65 inches.

Telken said that the highest wind gust report was at Richmond Lake at 75 mph.

Mobridge reported hail that was 11/4 inches in diameter, but Telken said he had not heard any reports of serious damage.

Day County Sheriff Barry Hillestad said his area also received some hail — all the way from pea-sized to tennis ball-sized. But, he said, it was so sporadic and isolated, that it did very little, if any, damage. He did not know of any crop damage.

Russell, however, said that Dickey County has a lot of flooded crops and a lot of crops with hail damage.

“Both sides of the state line have repeated hail damage,” he said.

The South Dakota State University Extension Regional Center in Aberdeen did not field any reports of hail damage after the storms, said Gared Shaffer, weeds field specialist. But, he said, last week’s storm damaged crops between Groton and Andover.

“There’s some beans and corn that won’t come out of that,” he said.

Edmunds County Deputy Kyle Couchey said Thursday that no one was really talking about Wednesday’s storm. He said residents were still cleaning up from Tuesday’s storm. It ripped off about 15 feet of the roof of Buffalo Station convenience store in Ipswich and damaged and destroyed trees around town.

Marshall County Sheriff Dale Elsen said the Britton area only received rain Wednesday night, and it was “nothing like the night before” when trees were uprooted, farm buildings were destroyed and utility poles were “busted off” or hit by lightning.

Crews from Lake Region Electric worked all of Wednesday to replace 25 utility poles that were damaged Tuesday night between Britton and Hillhead. Fortunately, Wednesday night’s storm didn’t cause further problems or harm the new poles.

Vanessa Bloom, communications specialist with Lake Region Electric, said power had been restored to all customers by 7 p.m. Wednesday. Crews will continue to work in the area for the next week or so to build the infrastructure up to “normal,” she said.

Northern Electric reported a few scattered outages from Wednesday’s storm. Crews had all customers back on the system by 3 a.m., said communications director Ben Dunsmoor.

Crews from FEM Electric worked through the night Wednesday on two instances of trees tipping over on lines, said Rob Vetch, line superintendent. Both incidents were between Mina and Ipswich south of U.S. Highway 12, he said.

Russell said the NWS has promised him three or four dry days.

“So hopefully that’ll help,” he said.

Reporters Elisa Sand and Megan Rosendahl contributed to this report.

Wednesday night rain totals

Long Lake: 3.65 inches

Sisseton: 2.61 inches

Mansfield: 2.60 inches

Ordway: 2.18 inches

Gettysburg: 1.6 inches

Watertown: 1.45 inches

Aberdeen: 1.25 inches

Clear Lake: 1.15 inches

Pierre: 0.55 inch

Mobridge: 0.53 inch

Source: National Weather Service