(Glenwood) -- Mills County residents continue to cope with the up-and-down nature of the floods of 2019.
Water from the first round of flooding in March receded in early May, only to return later in the month following heavy rainfall. Speaking on KMA's "Morning Line" program Friday morning, Mills County Public Information Officer Sheri Bowen says some progress in regressing floodwaters from round two is evident--especially on the east side of Interstate 29.
"We are seeing the flooding that's on the east side of Interstate 29 has gone down considerably," said Bowen. "We've been able to open back up the roads on that east side that we had to close with that second road of flooding.
"On the west side of the interstate, we have noticed a decrease," she added. "We are hoping to reopen Lambert (Avenue) within the next few days, so we are making some progress with water levels."
Bowen says drier conditions this month have helped water levels go down in flood-stricken areas.
"We had a significant amount of rain that did create a huge backup," said Bowen. "When that rain happens in that area, as well as others, we see that increase coming down the river. That, along with ongoing increases from the Gavins Point Dam, have been influencing factors in the second round of flooding."
Like other officials, Bowen remains wary of returning rainfall in future forecasts. She adds the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' decision to keep outflows from the Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota at 75,000 cubic feet per second will keep water from rescinding faster, as well as slow recovery efforts...
"Right now, the decreases that we're seeing along the river," she said, "they've gone down from 30 (feet), and they're projected to go down to 28 feet within the next week. So, this is not a quick reduction in water level along the river. Until we see that river level coming significantly down, I don't think that's going to happen in the near future for us as long as Gavins Point stays at 75,000."
Fortunately, Bowen says Pacific Junction--a community devastated by the March flooding--avoided additional water with the May round. Cleanup efforts in Pacific Junction continue.
"The community, itself, has had one round of debris removal, and are preparing for a second round," said Bowen. "Cleanup is still happening in that area. Some houses, I think, folks have decided they're not going to touch. They're going to go for demolishing. I know there's some interest in buyout, and I know the city is considering their options. We know that decision is in the hands of the city at this point in time."
Bowen, however, says some of the large volunteer groups are no longer in town for cleanup efforts, and volunteers are still needed. Anyone interested in volunteering with cleanup in Mills County should contact Pacific Junction officials. You can hear the full interview with Sheri Bowen on our "Morning Line" page at kmaland.com.