Weather Forecast


March Mania

Overnight storm causes more flooding, road closures in central South Dakota

1 / 5
2 / 5
A car plows its way through the sitting water on East Havens in Mitchell on Thursday morning following the Wednesday night storms in the region. (Matt Gade / Republic)3 / 5
The intersection of South Lawler Street and East Havens Avenue is flooded Thursday morning after a storm hit Mitchell. (Luke Hagen / Republic)4 / 5
Flooding from this week's storms is pictured next to the railroad tracks in Plankinton. (Submitted photo / Scott Black)5 / 5

MITCHELL, S.D. — More than 4 inches of rain overnight Wednesday into Thursday — and 7-plus inches in a span of about 30 hours — left Mitchell and the region reeling from flash flooding.

Some of Mitchell's most intense flooding on Thursday morning was in the area of East Havens Avenue and East Hackberry Avenue between South Main Street and South Davison Street. Overnight, flash flooding was also taking place on a number of primary routes in the city, including Main Street and the downtown district. Dry Run Creek, which generally does not carry much water, was up to its banks and water was rushing.

According to the National Weather Service, a total of 7.07 inches of rain fell in Mitchell between about 10 p.m. Tuesday and 4 a.m. Thursday. More than 2 inches of that fell in a single hour Wednesday night.

Since Tuesday, the James River at Mitchell has climbed 4 feet, and has returned to major flooding stage. Flood warnings remained in effect for the James River near Mitchell and Scotland and Firesteel Creek near Mount Vernon, and the James River was at major flood stage shortly before 11 a.m. Thursday.

Road closures and water restrictions went into effect Thursday morning after rain hit southeastern South Dakota for the second night in a row. Most recently, North Ohlman Street in Mitchell was closed from West Eighth Avenue to West 23rd Avenue shortly before 11 a.m.

By 1 a.m. Thursday, flood warnings were issued for all or parts of Davison, Aurora, Charles Mix, Gregory, Douglas, Hanson and Brule counties.

Charles Mix County Emergency Management Supervisor Mike Kotab told The Daily Republic that as of about 9 a.m. Thursday morning, Platte Lake Road, which borders Lake Platte, had begun to wash out near the lake's spillway, which is something he hasn't seen before.

County residents are being advised to be cautious on gravel and secondary roads.

"There's water all over. It's virtually across the county," Kotab said. "... It's a blur all together."

“It’s like a waterfall. It’s going down the spillway, but it took the road out next to the spillway,” said Kristi Pheifer, a Platte resident who observed the flooding Thursday morning. “...There’s a lot of people that live down the valley from there. It’s filling up the ditches along (S.D. Highway) 44, too.”

At 7:49 a.m., Interstate 90 was closed between Mitchell and Plankinton, and has advised that no one travel on the interstate between Kimball and Plankinton and between Mitchell and Humboldt. The DOT said water has been reported over the roadway in many locations, and approaches have gone underwater. Signs and barricades have been placed, the state DOT said.

State highways 37 and 38 were also placed under a travel advisory.

Farther south, travel on State Highway 46 is not advised from Pickstown to the highway's intersection with State Highway 50. A segment of S.D. 46 from 5 miles east of Pickstown to a quarter-mile west of the Wagner junction has been closed, and travel is not advised on State Highway 42 east of Ethan.

At 6:48 a.m., the Mitchell Department of Public Safety issued a water restriction as a result of flooding and overloading of the sanitary sewer. Mount Vernon is also on a water restriction, and the Sanborn County Sheriff's Office is encouraging limiting water usage in Artesian, Woonsocket and Letcher.

Dakota Wesleyan University will open at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, and Mitchell Technical Institute will be open as usual.