BROOKINGS, S.D. – With the National Weather Service calling for more flooding, South Dakotans can rely on SDSU Extension for timely updates, resources and information which are posted daily to the website’s flood page at extension.sdstate.edu.
“SDSU Extension’s team is working to help South Dakotans clean up from the impacts of the recent flood and blizzard events and prepare for upcoming additional flooding,” said Karla Trautman, SDSU Extension Interim Director. “Our team members are located throughout the state, we personally feel the impacts of these weather events and understand the devastation to homes, farmland and livestock operations across the state.”
Due to continued snowmelt, Trautman said flooding will remain a focus for the SDSU Extension team much of this spring as the National Weather Service predicts the James, Big Sioux and Vermillion Rivers will soon experience flood crests similar to March 13 and 14 levels, explained SDSU Extension State Climatologist, Laura Edwards.
“We may see a greater amount of flooding, as the prediction does not account for any rainfall events that may occur,” said Edwards, who reviews daily U.S. Army Corps of Engineers updates, satellite imagery and National Weather Service maps and climate outlook reports.
Noting the Cheyenne River is currently in a minor flood stage, Edwards said flooding resulting from snowmelt could become an issue for those in western portions of the state due to the 12 to 24-inches of snow left behind after the March 13 and 14 blizzard.
For the state’s crop and livestock producers, the recent extreme weather events created numerous challenges, explained Alvaro Garcia, SDSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Program Director & Professor.
“Farmers are looking at standing water in fields, and wondering if planting will only be delayed,” Garcia said. “Many of our producers are in the midst of lambing and calving. In addition to protecting livestock from flooding, producers had to scramble to move and relocate feedstuffs. Protecting forage is a top priority, as flooding has already reduced available spring pasture.”
He urges producers to take extra precautions when working with livestock near flooded areas. “Before entering flood waters, make sure there are no risk factors related to electricity or debris,” he said.
Heavy snow also created issues. Garcia said some barn roofs have caved in under the snow’s weight.
When assessing damages caused by extreme weather events, Garcia encourages producers to reach out to their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices to discuss Livestock Indemnity Program payments.
“Contact the FSA before disposing of livestock, as there are certain procedures that need to be followed,” Garcia said. To learn more, visit the extension.sdstate.edu flood page or contact your local FSA office.
Considerations when cleaning up after flooding
For the many South Dakotans cleaning out homes and businesses following the flood, the SDSU Extension website also contains links to online and in-person resources.
AnswerLine connects callers to experts who can share tips on cleaning flood damaged homes, personal belongings, mold and mildew issues. The toll-free number to call is 1-888-393-6336.
“Unfortunately, our team has experience with flood damage and the steps homeowners can take to prevent further damage from mold and mildew,” explained Suzanne Stluka, SDSU Extension Food & Families Program Director.
Stluka also calls on South Dakotans to provide emotional support for friends and neighbors. “Stress from unexpected events like the recent extreme weather can have negative mental health impacts,” Stluka said. “If you are concerned about the mental health of a friend or family member, don’t hesitate to contact a healthcare professional for guidance.”