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Flooding causes road closures, muddy conditions in Dickinson

Dickinson found itself waterlogged Thursday morning as snow- and icemelt filled the Heart River and Patterson Lake and flooded roads and a campground, a consequence of warming spring temperatures that are expected to remain for the near future.

The Heart River rose high Thursday morning, lapping at the edges of Camp on the Heart on Dickinson's south side. High temperatures have led to rapid snowmelt, and a swollen river and lake as a consequence. Iain Woessner / The Dickinson Press
The Heart River rose high Thursday morning, lapping at the edges of Camp on the Heart on Dickinson's south side. High temperatures have led to rapid snowmelt, and a swollen river and lake as a consequence. Iain Woessner / The Dickinson Press

Dickinson found itself waterlogged Thursday morning as snow- and icemelt filled the Heart River and Patterson Lake and flooded roads and a campground, a consequence of warming spring temperatures that are expected to remain for the near future.

"It's a little wet out there," said Bill Fahlsing, emergency manager with the City of Dickinson. "Driving around, you'll notice that generally a lot of the snowpack is gone. There are spots where there's still standing snow, but with the higher temperatures you'll notice the snow is disappearing. Most of the moisture is flowing into the Heart River, which flows into Lake Patterson ... Lake Patterson is full, so any of the water flowing into the Heart and into the lake is flowing back out of the lake into the river and east into the county. So keep that in mind: Anything flowing into the lake is essentially flowing right back out of the lake."

Eighth Avenue Southwest and Livestock Lane from East Villard to 10th Avenue Southeast were closed off in the morning and as of press time only Eighth Avenue Southwest from 7th Street Southwest to Diamond Drive have been reopened. City officials used social media to warn residents of the dangers of water flowing over roads and to alert citizens that sandbags are available to those who need them.

"Just because there's not a road closed sign on (a) county road doesn't mean there isn't a danger with water flowing over that road. Keep an eye out," Fahlsing said. "Keep situational awareness as situations change, situations can back up a river ... keep an eye out for your surroundings and don't dry to drive over roads that water is flowing over."

Ken Simosko, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck, said that the warm weather - and resultant runoff and melt - is going to remain.

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"We're going to stay above freezing during the day for the next week or so. Your highs in Dickinson on Friday and Saturday during the day will still be in the lower 50s. You'll still get melt during the day," Simosko said. "Looks like we will be below freezing at night. The exception will maybe be this weekend ... the melt's going to continue (overnight)."

Conditions during the day at the shores of the Heart River were muddy. At Camp on the Heart, the riverbank had risen to encroach upon campers on what had been the shoreline; one home's yard was flooded with melted snow and ice, and thick mud grasped at tires and boots alike.

Fahlsing said he believes we've reached the peak runoff amounts, though he warned that everything is subject to change.

"At this point, it is my hunch that we are peaking right now. That is subject to change," he said. "Obviously, with the amount of ice flowing in the river, we can still have ice jams and whatnot."

Snowmelt left some residential yards a quagmire as high temperatures caused flooding and snowmelt in Dickinson. Iain Woessner / The Dickinson Press
Snowmelt left some residential yards a quagmire as high temperatures caused flooding and snowmelt in Dickinson. Iain Woessner / The Dickinson Press

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