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New Monsoon Season Snarls Commutes in South Dakota

Add to the externalities of climate change and drain tile the cost of road closures. Check out this morning’s map of road closures and flood warnings from the Department of Transportation:

Flood warnings and water-related road closures in southeast South Dakota, Department of Transportation, 2019.09.13 05:42 CDT
Flood warnings and water-related road closures in southeast South Dakota, Department of Transportation, 2019.09.13 05:42 CDT

If you’re trying to get from Mitchell to Sioux Falls for work or meetings or class today, I-90 and the two closest major alternative routes all have water closures through which you should not drive unless you are a walleye. If you’re commuting from Brandon (and if you’re in Brandon, that’s most of you), the only way out of town is I-90. If you’re trying to get from Madison to Brookings, both main routes look wet, but who knows what you’ll find on the Norwegian Boulevard.

Of course, a lot of folks may not have to bother with the commute since they have to stay home to mind the kids thanks to the unexpected September school closings.

So take a couple hours or a whole day off work and a shopping trip or two cancelled, multiply by thousands of people, and you’ve got one more drag on your local economy, brought to you in part by human activity about which your Republican leaders refuse to take responsible action.

Related Fiscal Note: Raising two miles of U.S. Highway 81 another two feet to get above the burgeoning Sinai lakes is costing us $4 million.


  1. P lindahl 2019-09-13

    I don’t understand how this is the fault of the Republican Party. They cannot control the weather any more than the Democratic Party can control it.

  2. Eve Fisher 2019-09-13

    That Chinese hoax is really good – it’s even fooling Mother Nature!

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-09-13

    If by “this” you mean the increasing frequency and intensity of storms induced by the climate change phenomenon that Republicans have been passionately denying on behalf of their fossil-fuel-vending patrons, well, the connection should be obvious.

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-09-13

    DOT says I-90 west of Sioux Falls is closed “indefinitely.” They are recommending Highway 14 as a detour.


    Sioux Falls to Plankinton on I-90 is 89 miles. At full legal speed, that’s 70 minutes.

    Going up and around—SF to Brookings to Huron and down to Plankinton—is 189 miles. Making that circuit at legal speed will take two and a half hours.

    Would anyone like to calculate the economic impact of travelers unable to take the most direct route from Sioux Falls to Rapid City?

  5. Porter Lansing 2019-09-13

    The best route is south to Omaha and west on I80 to I76 and south to Denver. grudznick (in state tourist hater) is in Rapid and that’s a reason never to go there.

  6. Debbo 2019-09-13

    This reminds me of living in the Cascade Mountains in northwest Washington state. Spring and fall flooding along the Skagit River was a given based on decades and a century plus of weather data.

    Of course, the current SD, Nebraska, Minnesota, etc, flooding is not based on traditional weather patterns. It’s due to human caused climate change.

    There are 2 levels of GOP complicity:
    First they deny climate change and pay off select unethical “scientists” to support their greed based thesis, thus hoodwinking citizens.
    Second, with Mental Malpractice in the WH, the GOP has stood aside while he’s increased corporate USA’s ability to pollute while shredding our leadership in protecting our one and only planet and home.

    The short version is, the GOP deserves the lion’s share of the responsibility for floods, damaging hurricanes, droughts, etc. Those who’ve been active in this enabling deserve to rot in hell.

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