March 26, 2009

Flood waters and blizzard hit Oliver County

Despite what the calendar says, the weather isn’t indicating spring yet. Center residents woke up to blizzard conditions Tuesday. Bismarck meteorologist Tom Szymanski said there was no official report from Center, but he estimated 5-7 inches of snow had blown in by 11 a.m. He expected another 1-4 inches before the front moves out of the area with partial clearing by Tuesday night.

"Then it’s going to get colder," he said. "Which is good because it will slow the flooding."

Sally Jons, Oliver County Emergency Manager/Director of Homeland Security, issued a "no travel advised" warning for Oliver County early Tuesday morning. She also said that some county roads are closed due to washouts from flood waters.

In addition to stormy weather, Jons has been keeping an eye on the Square Butte Creek flowing through Center. She said that it reached a crest March 22 around midnight. The creek had raised high enough to be within 10 feet of Jeff and Jody Reinke’s house that day. The Reinke’s Bridge Avenue backyard goes down to the creek.

"We didn’t get any water in our basement," Reinke said. "There was an ice jam from the walking bridge to the Highway 25 bridge on Sunday. As soon as it left, the water receded to level with the banks. Within a matter of one or two hours, it really changed."

"We had a voluntary evacuation for seven families on Bridge Avenue and some families did leave," Jons said. "The water got within a foot of Lee and Regina Husfloen’s back door before receding."

The creek waters were as high as the huge ice chunks it left behind after the crest as it went back within is banks, according to Oliver County Deputy Kelly Keller. Other than some items left in yards that were swept away, Jons didn’t know of any flood damage.

Janell Peterson, Director of City Services for Center, said that she had no reports of damage to houses.

"So far we’ve been lucky. Of course, things can change quickly," she said.

The Weather Network