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Madison Gets Eleven Inches of Rain, Roads Blocked

I know Sioux Falls got beaten up hard by Tuesday night’s tornado, but at least you can get there and back. KJAM reports that eleven inches of rain in 48 hours have almost made Madison an island:

Water is over the road on most routes in and out of Madison, including Highways 34, 19, and 81.

The state Department of Transportation has closed Highway 81 north of Madison, Highway 34 west of Madison, and Highway 19 at Marr’s Beach. Highway 34 east of Madison is open to Interstate 29, with water up to the shoulders of the road in places.

National Weather Service is expecting the water to crest in the city creeks by around 6:00 – 7:00 a.m. A flood warning remains in effect into this afternoon [“Update on Flooding in Madison,” KJAM, 2019.09.12].

Kids are getting a flood day off from school. That’s something you don’t see every day… or ever in Madison.

As my friend and storm chaser Ashley Kenneth Allen reports, he can’t even get out of the northeast quadrant of town due to road closures. Sunshine Grocery better set up some speed boat or zip line delivery!

DSU was going to host the Herb Blakely cross-country meet today, but high water at the Lake Herman golf course has nixed that. If the water doesn’t wash out Highway 34 east, the DSU cross country team will be heading to Sioux Center, Iowa, to run a make-up meet at Dordt.


  1. Ruth 2019-09-12 08:07

    It sounds a lot like the flood of ’93. Lake Herman is extremely high and hopefully the wind will come out of the west and not erode the bank in front of the house. People have been going to the armory all night long to get out of flooded homes. Our dock is under and it says we had 3″10″ last night. Our son in town had much much more and his yard is mostly under water. Welcome to South Dakota folks. We love it so we stay here.

  2. o 2019-09-12 08:43

    I say embrace climate change as an opportunity: our HS CC competitors can swim to the start line – then start running. Let cross country become the new biathlon.

  3. mike from iowa 2019-09-12 08:56

    Farmers need excellent health insurance. 11 inches of rain on top of Drumpf’s continuing screw ups in trade tariffs is likely the straw that breaks farmer’s backs.

  4. jerry 2019-09-12 09:17

    New opportunities for the shrimp farm boondoggle in Madison, call them wild shrimp.

  5. jerry 2019-09-12 09:29

    Climate change, tariffs, trade wars and endless real wars, cost a lot. Almost 3/4 of a million troops have gone to Afghanistan so far and we have not won a damn thing. These are the American count, not counting the NATO troops that have fought, been wounded or killed.

    “Wednesday marks the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, which led to a long legacy of war. That was thrown into sharp relief this week when President Trump abruptly announced Saturday that he was canceling months of negotiations with the Taliban, even as he aims to fulfill a promise of ending America’s “endless wars.”

    The U.S. war in Afghanistan has led to the deaths of about 2,400 American service members, including 16 in combat action this year. Some 20,000 more have been wounded, many grievously.

    But there’s another set of revealing numbers about the war that exposes its sprawling nature. Data provided by the Pentagon shows that more than 775,000 U.S. service members have deployed to Afghanistan at least once. The numbers detail the story of a war that has persisted for an entire generation.”

    Do you think we ought to try something different in all ways?

  6. Wade Brandis 2019-09-12 09:37

    Even though I have only been a Madison resident since 2017, I was able to read up on the city’s history during my years at DSU. I learned about the massive July 1993 flood after finding a VHS tape documenting said flood at the local flea market. The rushing water near Campbell’s today is very reminiscent of the ’93 flood. Could the September 2019 Flood be worse than ’93? Only time will tell.

    In my part of town, we only got street flooding and filled detention ponds. The creek on S. Union and S. Egan is right up to the top of the culverts, but as of now, it’s not running over the street.

  7. Eve Fisher 2019-09-12 09:38

    Stay safe everyone! I remember 1993 all too well.

  8. Richard Schriever 2019-09-12 09:52

    jerry, I was working with and interacting socially with Afghan refugees prior to and during the 9-11 days. It was my opinion then, and it remains so today, that the better course of action would have been – after removal of the horrendously cruel Taliban – to engage in positive actions like mine removal, cleanup and restoration of damaged infrastructure, development assistance and so on in Afghanistan rather to pouring additional Trillions and lives into already contained Iraq. The GOOD WILL towards the US that would have followed throughout that region of the world would have been tremendous. Such actions would have demonstrated that the US is indeed “exceptional” in that it really does have the welfare of people in mind – and not simply resource control, like every other colonial pretender that has occupied that part of the world. The fundamentalist recruiters of terrorism (ISIS, Taliban, Al Quaeda, etc.) would have NO BASIS for their ongoing propaganda efforts. Never forget – it was the NeoCons (the so-called “reasonable” or “traditional” Republicans) that have foisted this mess on the world.

  9. jerry 2019-09-12 10:33

    Agreed Mr. Schriever. By doing what Bolton, Cheney and those other douche bags did was exactly the plan of Osama bin Laden. Under 20 Saudi Arabian nationals, and 4 stolen American planes, has cost us trillions of dollars and gallons of blood…and we are still right back where we stated on this date in 2001, nothing has changed.

  10. HydroGuy 2019-09-12 12:50

    According to NOAA’s Atlas 14 precipitation frequency data, the 2 day 1000-year event for Madison is 8.54 inches, though 11.00 inches is the upper end of the 90% confidence interval.

    New peaks of record have also been set for the following streamgages: Big Sioux River near Egan, Big Sioux River near Trent, Big Sioux River above Dell Rapids, Pipestone Creek near Pipestone, MN, and Split Rock Creek near Jasper, MN. The gage on the Big Sioux River near Dell Rapids is predicted to crest just shy of the peak of record and the gage on Skunk Creek near Hartford just above the peak of record.

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-09-12 13:38

    Wade, in 1993, I went to town with my dad to sandbag in the morning, then rode bikes with my brother and his friends in the afternoon through the floodwaters around town and Lake Herman. In 1993, we pedaled through the flood waters near Campbell’s supply and up on 9th. Dad drove through water over S. Washington/Hwy 34 just north of Prostrollo’s. In 1993, water was also over Territorial Road at the spillway.

  12. Wade Brandis 2019-09-12 15:31

    Out and about, as far as I could safely go, the water is still running high underneath S. Union as it was earlier today. SW 4th St is closed between Egan and Union as water is over the road. I couldn’t get much further than that, so I went back to my apartment.

    I also observed the creek behind Montgomery’s from S. Egan, near the 4-H grounds. It was out of it’s banks and coming very close to the bike path. Here is drone footage of the flooding taken this morning from the area near Campbell’s. Based on the video, water hasn’t covered S. Washington.

    Territorial Road is now closed, and residents around Lake Herman are being evacuated, according to KJAM.

  13. mike from iowa 2019-09-12 16:04

    Thanks for the bird’s eye view, Mr Brandis. Has Madison been declared a disaster area? Sure looks like it from iowa.

  14. mike from iowa 2019-09-12 16:07

    Imagine how much good a buffer strip along these rivers would have done for pheasant counts and preventing massive bank erosions. Don’t forget they help detain chemicals otherwise headed for New Orleans and points farther South.

  15. Debbo 2019-09-12 22:35

    Thanks Wade. Sure sorry for those folks. What a mess.

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