HAWARDEN—Public works director Travis Waterman and the Hawarden city staff are preparing for the flood gates to open all around town.
With the Sioux Falls, SD, National Weather Service’s projected rainfall and some snow for Wednesday-Thursday, March 13-14, Waterman and crew are taking action to help minimize the damage this round of weather may cause.
“We started Monday clearing storm drain intakes to ensure all the streets were able to drain effectively,” he said.
Waterman monitors a water/weather website for river levels, flood watches and warnings and he gets an alert on his phone when the river reaches a certain level.
While there are lessons learned after each flood, Waterman said since the last big flood in 2014 the City of Hawarden has stock piled thousands of sand bags and pallets of plastic sheeting. The city also has manufactured a sandbag filling station that can be filled with a loader bucket of sand.
“We are fortunate to have LG Everist near by for our sand stock pile,” Waterman said.
Residents within city limits can prepare for the projected floods by making sure down spouts are free of snow and ice as well as removing the water away from the house foundation.
“If the water can reach the streets, our storm drain system will handle the run off,” Waterman said. “It does happen occasionally that a storm drain may plug. We ask our residents to let us know when that happens so we can get the water flowing again.”
City roads this past week had quite a bit of slush build up. Waterman attributed that to an “unfortunate weather pattern.”
“The rain on top of snow-packed roads created slushing on the top two to three inches,” Waterman said. “We began blowing the streets with all three plows and a loader for cleaning the storm drains. The major problem was the frozen layer below the slush. Our plows would ride on that layer even though the tire tracks were on the road surface.”
Waterman explained that most of the slush couldn’t get up over the 2-foot snow piles along the road edge. This left most of it going into driveways, other intersections and back onto the roadways.
“Then came the cold on Sunday,” Waterman said. “Monday the guys did a great job clearing the streets — thanks with the help of warmer weather. We had every piece of equipment out cleaning the storm drains so the water and slush had a place to go. The plows did the rest.”