USA – Rescues After Floods in South Dakota, Warnings for Missouri River

Days of heavy rain fell in parts of South Dakota from 10 to September 2019, causing widespread flooding in the state. Meanwhile National Weather Service (NWS) is warning that the rain in South Dakota could result in another wave of flooding downstream along the Missouri River in Iowa and Nebraska.

Floods near Madison, South Dakota, September 2019. Photo: Madison Police SD

Rainfall and Rivers

NWS Sioux Falls reported that some areas saw 10 inches (254mm) to 13.5 inches (342.9mm) in a 48 hour period to 12 September.

Rivers and creeks broke their banks. NWS Sioux Falls said via Social Media: “Some of the rivers around the area are at an all-time high and unfortunately some are still rising. While the records are preliminary, the oldest record broken was from the 1969 flood.”

Rainfall in South Dakota to 12 September 2019. Image: NWS Sioux Falls
River levels in South Dakota to 12 September 2019. Image: NWS Sioux Falls

Flooding and Tornadoes

Flooding was reported in Mitchell, Madison, Spencer, Yankton, Brookings, Sioux Falls and Dell Rapids. Around 30 people had to be rescued from flood water in Madison. Homes, roads and bridges were damaged and schools closed in affected areas.

Earlier in the week several tornadoes had damaged or destroyed dozens of buildings in Sioux Falls.

Heavy rains in north-central Nebraska during the same period washed out some roads and bridges. One person was rescued from flood water near Ainsworth.

Missouri River Warnings

On 15 September the National Weather Service said that the heavy rains and flooding in South Dakota will likely result in more flooding downstream along the Missouri River.

As of 16 September flood warnings were in place for several communities along the Missouri including Decatur, Blair, Omaha, Plattsmouth, Nebraska City, Brownville and Rulo. Crests are expected between 18 and 22 September. Further rain is also forecast from around 20 September.

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