Flooding isn't a lock this spring, but precautions are still a good idea

The city of Sioux Falls encourages all homeowners to consider insurance and learn about historic flooding.

Flood - Big Sioux.jpg
Ice chunks were a major problem during the 2019 flood in Sioux Falls. This photo from the National Weather Service shows the ice pack pushing through Farm Field Park, looking east near the Western Avenue exit off Interstate 229. Yankton Trail Park is shown under water on the far side of Western Avenue.
Contributed / National Weather Service

SIOUX FALLS — With all the snow outside, it’s not a bad idea to think about the potential for flooding this spring.

That’s not to say there will be flooding.

It’s still too early to know, but it’s not too early to take precautions, city officials reminded residents this week.

That includes flood insurance, said Albert Schmidt urban planner for the city of Sioux Falls.

All homeowners are eligible for flood insurance, either through their insurance agent or FEMA, Schmidt said on Wednesday, March 1.


The city isn’t worried about flooding this any more than other years. Several factors are involved in whether the Big Sioux River or its tributaries overflow, including spring rains and how quickly the snow piles melt.

“We hope it doesn’t melt too fast,” Schmidt said.

Some residents who live in a floodplain are required to get insurance. Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding in most cases.

Short of insurance, there are other precautions to consider, Schmidt said. That includes making sure water is able to drain off the roof and away from the house and clearing snow from around the foundation.

Checking the storm drains in your area to make sure they are clear helps everybody, he said.

“We want to make sure that homeowners and residents are watchful of what’s going on their neighborhood,” he said.

Homeowners with questions can visit the city’s website at , email Schmidt at , or call Schmidt at 605-367-8603.

SpringFloodOutlook 2023-2-23 by inforumdocs on Scribd

Of course, more precipitation can change the flood possibility quickly.


Sioux Falls has had more than 50 inches of snow fall already this winter. More rain and snow is forecast for next week.

The last serious flood in Sioux Falls was in 2019 when a winter storm hit March 12-14. The storm hit the city with heavy rain, which turned to snow driven by high winds. But the real damage occurred when the Big Sioux River, which was still covered in thick ice, began to swell from the rain and snow. Read more about that flood here.

Up-to-date weather info from our StormTRACKER weather team.

The rising water broke the ice into massive chunks that scraped away trees, small buildings and shelters throughout the Greenway.

For serious weather geeks, FEMA has compiled a detailed history of flooding in Minnehaha County going back to 1950, with descriptions of the conditions that contributed to the flooding and a ton of data.

Flooding - Minnehaha Country Historic FEMA by inforumdocs on Scribd

Patrick Lalley is the engagement editor and reporter for Sioux Falls Live. Reach him at
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