Floodwaters around the South Dakota capital of Pierre are rising and they’re about to get much higher. The dams along the Missouri River can’t hold back a massive surge of water spurred by record rains in Montana.
The Army Corps of Engineers is about to open those dams to record flows. Residents are hoping that temporary levees will keep them from losing their homes and businesses.
Some who live here worry that things are about to get worse. The Army Corps is about to drastically increase the flow out of the Oahe Dam just upstream. Otherwise it would overflow. Soon the Missouri River here could see almost twice the flow it has now.
Jan Harkless is the Fire Chief in the nearby town of Blunt. He came to Pierre to help his friends fill and stack sandbags. Ten years ago his house was destroyed by flooding.
“I think people should pray for these people,” Harkless says.
His eyes get watery as he looks across the rising waters of the Missouri River.
“There is going to be people, not only out of their home, they might not even have a job,” Harkless says. “The destitute that’s coming, I don’t know. I think there is going to be some impact here that nobody has realized yet.” […]