Brianna Jones of rural Midland, S.D. took this photo of the family’s cattle corral which was severally damaged by the flooding Brave Bull Creek on Memorial Day weekend.
Brianna Jones of rural Midland, S.D. took this photo of the family’s cattle corral which was severally damaged by the flooding Brave Bull Creek on Memorial Day weekend.


By Codi Vallery-Mills


The national drought monitor released May 21 shows every part of the state of South Dakota out of drought. This comes as no surprise to its farmers and ranchers who have been dealing with large snow totals and continuous rain since February. 

Much of the state is saturated. Gravel and paved county roads throughout the state have been stressed. Turner, McCook, Davison, Tripp, Jones, Meade, Pennington, Harding, Butte, Ziebach, all have reports of roads that have been washed out or bridges damaged from the most recent weather. They join counties that had already experienced winter storm and heavy precipitation from earlier in May. 

Leading up to the Memorial Day weekend holiday, Philip, S.D. had to take action and sandbag its southern edge of town to keep the Bad River from rising into its downtown area. A storm system on Sunday, May 26 left some places with up to four inches of rain in less than a one-hour time period. The South Dakota town of Kennebec received over three inches and now its Medicine Creek is flooding parts of the town. 

Damaged infrastructure costs are beginning to mount for townships, cities, and counties across the state. Without adequate roads it will make hauling cattle to spring pasture and planting summer crops – that is if farm ground ever dries up enough – an arduous task as it will likely require extra miles to navigate in on different roads.

In early May Governor Kristi Noem requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration to help South Dakotans and local governmental entities recover from property damage sustained during the statewide winter weather and flooding this spring.

Noem noted then that people had to be rescued from their flooded homes; city wastewater treatment plans and sewage lagoons were overwhelmed from high water; highways, ranging from the interstates to the county roads, were closed and damaged by both snow and water; power outages occurred in different parts of the state; and, the state’s agricultural industry was impacted by damage to fields and livestock.

This recent round of storms will likely see additional counties added to the list of those requesting disaster aid.