LINTON — When it comes to the potential for spring flooding in North Dakota, much of the state is in wait-and-see mode.
That includes our neighbors to the southeast.
Right now, the waters of Emmons County are frozen in time, locked by mother’s nature’s cold icy grip, but with spring not far off the snow will melt and the ice will thaw, meaning the waters will resume rising.
Despite January being a relatively dry month, in southern North Dakota, including Emmons County, soil moisture rates are way above normal — by about 140 percent.
That’s not counting the moisture inside the feet of snow that in some places has crops buried.
So what happens when all that snow melts and the ground thaws? Emmons County Sheriff Gary Sanders told KX News they’re already seeing problems.
“With the water table as high as it is, it’s still a concern. They’re still people pumping water from their basements as we speak this winter from their sump pumps, they haven’t stopped. If we end up with a couple of major snow events, between now and May, it’s going to be significant as to where that water is gonna go,” said Sanders.
Mary Senger, the Emergency Manager for Emmons County told KX News:
“The saturation issue is a big concern, because that just compounds the issue of additional precipitation, because it’s not going to go into the ground, it’s going to be overland flooding,” said Senger.
People we spoke with in Linton told us the threat of spring flooding is always on their minds.
“I’ll get to town, but I might have to backtrack a few roads. I know there are four or five roads around me they’ll be underwater or washed out,” said Linton resident, Mark Feist.
“The roads are really an issue for some folks. With this water and this high water table it can make the roads situations very difficult and so a lot of folks are very concerned about that depending on where they live,” said Linton resident, Acacia Stuckle.
Everywhere we traveled we saw high water, even some lakes threatening farmers’ homes. Highway 83 was risen nearly three feet by the department of Transportation, just to keep it open.
The general consensus in this county of over 3,000 people is this: hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
Sheriff Sanders told KX News the Emmons County Water Board is considering hiring a contractor to clear debris from Beaver Creek and Spring Creek in the hopes of keeping the water flowing easily once spring hits.
With the threat of flooding hanging over residents heads this winter, emergency officials are asking you to consider purchasing flood insurance.
All residents in Emmons County are being urged to consider the option of flood insurance even if you live on a hill, because, as we’ve reported, the moisture content in the soil is so great across Emmons County, many people could experience basement flooding.
You should get it as soon as possible, because of the 30 day waiting period before a claim can be filed.
Emergency officials told us no one should ignore the spring flood threat.
“Consider it. Go on floodsmart.gov and look at what your risk is, you can type your address and find out what your risk is, and you’re susceptible to flooding whether you live next to a body of water or not. So flood insurance, there are two different types. One is for the structure, one is for the contents if you don’t live in a flood plain or a floodway your premiums are much lower,” said Senger.
Senger added the county does participate in the National Flood Insurance Program, which allows its residents to purchase flood insurance.