Sunday, March 21, 2010

SHRA breaths sigh of relief as Big Sioux River nears flood stage

SHRA volunteers are breathing a sigh of relief with the cresting of the Big Sioux River this weekend. After a winter that dropped over 3 inches of rain on the complex during Thanksgiving weekend, and several snowstorms that left over 60 inches of snow and eight-foot snow drifts through out the property, volunteers were extremely worried about the effects of snow melt on the complex, and the snow melt north of Sioux City along the Big Sioux River.

On Saturday, the Big Sioux River spilled over its east bank into the lower-lying land areas of the Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District. The depth of the spill over is about 3 feet and about 12 feet wide. To reach that point, the Big Sioux was running at around 99 ft through Sioux City. To reach the lower Ag-Rail Heritage Festival land area, the River would need to reach a stage of 103 feet and to reach the roundhouse and other buildings, the River level would need to be around 105 ft.

Over the past few weeks, several volunteers have diligently monitored the river levels and weather. With the Big Sioux River cresting Saturday, the volunteers were breathing a big sigh of relief as they gauaged the river level. A second wave of high river water levels is expected over the next two to three weeks as snow melt continues to feed the Big Sioux from the Dakotas and Minnesota.

The photo to the left shows the Big Sioux River running water through the area adjacent to the Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District. A video is available at

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