Area officials examine flood risk
Stark County officials say spring flooding is a very real concern this year.
"We haven't declared a snow emergency yet, but it is in the back of my mind," said Gary Kostelecky, interim Stark County emergency manager.
Stark County's snow depth is 23 inches, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website.
"We have had flooding in the past," Kostelecky said. He added problem areas include Green and Heart River, Patterson Lake and some areas near Richardton.
Stark County Road Superintendent Al Heiser said the ditches are full and the snow piles in town continue to rise.
"We have begun to think about the potential for flooding very seriously," Kostelecky said. "Hopefully the snow will melt slowly and it won't be an issue, but it is better to be proactive than reactive."
Kostelecky said sandbags have not been filled yet, but that may change if the weather doesn't improve.
"Residents living along Palm Beach Road seem to always be hit first," Kostelecky said.
Heiser agreed and said there are definitely some reoccurring problem areas.
"Residents are our best eyes," Heiser said. "We do our best to watch for concern areas but it never hurts to call the shop if a resident spots a potential problem area or needs help on their own land."
Kostelecky added residents who feel they may see flooding near their home should come to the county shop for sandbags and also move equipment and other possessions out of the flood plain at the first sign of trouble.
Even though the Cannonball River has flooded in the past, Hettinger County Emergency Manager Irene Hardmeyer says there is no reason for concern.
Hardmeyer said even though the county received a good amount of snow, the moisture content was low.
"It's still hard to predict what will happen," Hardmeyer said. "Weather conditions over the next two months will give us a better idea of what the spring thaw will amount too."
Dunn County emergency manager Denise Brew said she was not worried about flooding either.
"We were told the ground around here is not frozen," said Denise Brew, Dunn County emergency manager. "If that is true, it will suck up a lot of the moisture."
Billings County Emergency Manager Pat Rummel was unavailable Friday for comment.