PIERRE, S.D.(KELO) – South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is encouraging people living in the Big Sioux River Valley to start preparing for record flooding.
Noem says flooding is not a matter of if, but when. She says people should start preparing now.
Winter snowmelt and rain have raised the water levels from north of Watertown to south of Sioux Falls.
The National Weather Service says flooding could reach historic levels.
Meanwhile, there’s a lot of water at Falls Park Tuesday, but there aren’t any people.
That’s because the city of Sioux Falls has closed Falls Park until future notice. Barricades have been setup up across the walkways.
Officials are asking people to avoid not only falls park but any city park along the Big Sioux River.
Along with the closing of Falls Park, city officials said the Army Corps of Engineers should be arriving in Sioux Falls at any moment to help crews prepare for the possibility of more flooding.
They will help city officials figure out the best barriers to protect infrastructure. Emergency officials are also urging everyone in the flood plains to prepare now for the rising water.
“Consider moving your personal property to higher ground if possible and store supply those valuable items that you can grab quickly if you need to evacuate, things like prescriptions and important paperwork and those family heirlooms,” Sioux Falls Emergency Manager Regan Smith said.
Smith also says the city needs more volunteers to help clean out flooded basements and homes.