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South Dakotans urged to plan ahead for spring flooding

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South Dakotans urged to plan ahead for spring flooding
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

PIERRE, S.D. - State and local governments are preparing for spring flooding in South Dakota, and the State Office of Emergency Management is asking citizens to plan ahead, too.

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Snow already on the ground this winter, combined with water remaining from the 2010 flooding, almost guarantees some level of flooding this spring in parts of eastern South Dakota. In some areas, that could include record river and lake levels. The timing and severity of the flooding will be determined by additional snow through March, the speed of the spring melt and the amount of rain that falls after the melt begins.

"Being prepared can keep you and your family safe and ease the impact flooding will have on your home and property,'' said Kristi Turman, Director of the Office of Emergency Management. "It's too early to say just how severe the flooding will be this spring, but it isn't too early to make a plan to protect your property and keep your family out of danger.''

Some steps to take to get ready for possible flooding include:

· Pay attention to watches and warnings.

· Safeguard your possessions. Put copies of insurance policies, financial records and other critical documents in a waterproof container, along with an inventory of major household items.

· Consider flood insurance. There's a 30-day waiting period for coverage to take effect.

· Make sure the sump pump is working and consider a battery-operated backup. Raise electrical components, furnace, water heater and other appliances above flood elevation. If possible, move furniture and valuable items to a safe place.

· Clear debris from gutters and downspouts.

· Create an emergency safety kit with drinking water, canned food, blankets, battery-operated radio, flashlight and first aid supplies. Plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family and have emergency contact plans in case you become separated.

· Review flood safety precautions. An adult can be swept away in as little as six inches of moving water.

For more information, visit www.bReadySD.com.

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