The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the Missouri River has surpassed the flood stage in Pierre and Fort Pierre after increased releases from the Oahe Dam. The Corp increased the flow by 10,000 cubic feet per second on Saturday morning and another 10,000 in the afternoon bringing the flow 120,000 cubic feet per second.
Community members in both cities say they’ve never seen the water this high or the current this fast. Pierre native Mark Dunn says all he can do now is wait.
“My barber shop is sandbagged and I’m out,” said Dunn.
In the 41 –year’s he’s lived in Pierre he’s seen a lot but this is a first.
“It’s not good, especially over here in Fort Pierre because it’s so low,” Dunn said. “The current is a lot faster here; I expected it to be a lot faster on the Pierre side.”
People in both cities brace for Tuesday’s crest. The water is expected to rise another four feet.
On Saturday, levees continued to grow as sandbags and plastic were put into place.
“We’ve got a lot going on, we spent the last week as a community getting ready and preparing for what we think is coming,” said Laurie Gill, Pierre’s mayor.
And still no one here knows exactly what to expect from the increased flows.
“Really as a community, now we think we’re ready and we’re just waiting to see the affect the rising water will have on our community,” said Gill.
But the one thing the Pierre and Fort Pierre communities can count on is each other.