Twice in one year…Big Sioux River floods

Posted September 25, 2018 at 11:59 pm

*over 48.jpg

by Dodie Hook

What are the odds that the Big Sioux River would have two major floods in one year? In Akron it’s 100 percent.

On Thursday, Sept. 21, the day before the first day of fall, the Big Sioux River at Akron flowed out of its banks onto already saturated land that couldn’t handle the large amounts of water. The flooding was due to large amounts of rainfall to the north.

However, Akron was not alone in this flooding. A majority of Northwest Iowa and Southeastern South Dakota endured flooding from all the rivers and creeks that couldn’t handle the water.

In Le Mars, the Floyd River reached a record level 27’ breaking the 1953 record of 26.4’. Iowa Highway 3 was closed and a large area was under water.

In Alton, a train derailed with cars ending up in the Floyd River. The train was carrying soybean oil and sand and there were no injuries or hazardous material but authorities speculate the rain played a part in the derailment.

The Little Sioux caused havoc with flooding and road closures for places such as Cherokee and Correctionville.

Roads coming into Hawarden from South Dakota were closed due to overflowing water of the Big Sioux River. Hawarden’s crest of 31.58’ is ranked second for historic crests behind the June flood of 2018 which was 34.00’.

Back to Akron, on Sept. 20 the Big Sioux River was at 11.8’ well under the flood stage of 16’ but was rising and expected to crest at 21.7’.

Come Friday morning, the river had risen to 18.08’ and was expected to crest at 22.4’ Sunday. Crews on both sides of the river had barricades ready in preparation for the road closure.

By Saturday morning the river was at 22.1’ and S.D. Highway 48 in rural Union County had water flowing over it and was closed. Water continued flowing Monday so the highway will be closed a few days longer. However, Iowa Highway 3 out of Westfield remained open.

The crest finally came Sunday at about 8 a.m. when the river reached 22.16’, a little less than predicted, and began receding, however the flood warning remained in effect.

During the June flood, the river reached 23.51’. Akron’s record is 25.59’ which occurred June 18, 2014. The recent flood is ranked ninth in historic crests for Akron according the National Weather Service.

The forecast for the week is predicted to be partly cloudy with temperatures in the 60s and 70s and no precipitation except possible precipitation on Monday. This following a week of 80 degree temperatures.

To quote Oscar Wilde, “And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.”

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