Photo by Marj Frew
This mud hole in the road to the Martin Community Cemetery is just one of many that has been impacted by the large amount of rain received by Bennett County in the last few days and weeks. Many places that were temporarily fixed earlier have once again washed out.
By Marj Frew
Bennett County Emergency Manager Jeff Siscoe returned to his office Friday, May 24, from the State Assessor Conference in Deadwood a day early, in order to attend to business back in Bennett County.
Recent rains have caused more flooding in an already saturated Bennett County.
“From the recent flooding we’ve had, and I hate to even call it flooding after what the Philip area had, but the water we’ve had did take out some of the roads that we had already fixed from the first flood.”
“The crossing west of town, south of Rodney Rayhills’ place went out. The river had crossed the road earlier, and we had done a fix there. I understand it took out about 40 yards, a three-foot cut deep, of that road.”
Siscoe was not sure what other places may be washed out at this time.
He reported, “The crest is raising about four to four and a half feet, and is moving very slow. As this crest slowly moves downstream, then it’s impacting the roads and things like that.”
Referring to information recently sent from the National Weather Service, “The crest from the last flooding south of town was 14.58 feet, and at the county line was 12.53 feet. We’re not looking at anything close to that. It’s still going to be up, but it won’t be as bad.”
“With all this rain, though, it’s really draining the ranchers and producers. They’re saying, ‘When is this going to end?’ We’re expecting more rain in the next system.”
The ground in the Bennett County area is already so saturated that when it rains there’s nowhere for it to go. “It dries out on the top, but below, it’s just saturated. We haven’t been able to catch up.”
Siscoe noted that some farmers have been able to get some of their planting in, while others have not.
“By press time, the current crest should be out of the county. If you live near where it floods, you need to keep your situational awareness up, because it’s unusual.”
Siscoe gave praise to the local people of Bennett County. “When I couldn’t get out to check the situation because of the muddy roads, I had people out there who gave us some really good information. During the last flooding, Chris Knecht was doing recon for us twice a day, checking on the water level of the water in the Tuthill area.”
“Without that information, I’m lost. The public has been such a help to me personally. Many times ranchers helped get to people during the blizzard. Without the help from the people we would be way more handicapped than we are.”