CHAMBERLAIN - High waters greeted campers along the Missouri River over the Memorial Day weekend, forcing visitors to leave the campgrounds along Lake Francis Case.
At Chamberlain, the Missouri River climbed from a water level of 63 feet on May 22 to above 68 feet on Monday, including climbing to 68.23 feet on Monday afternoon. Major flooding begins at 70 feet, according to the National Weather Service. The river was at 67.67 feet on April 3, as the high crest mark earlier this spring.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Sunday that the Left Tailrace Campground, which is located below the Big Bend Dam at Fort Thompson, was to be vacated by noon on Monday. Pool levels in Lake Francis Case, the corps said, were rising because of heavy rain events in South Dakota. The corps said there was no estimate for when the campground would re-open.
"The safety of those who are camping at our facilities is a priority and with higher pool levels projected, closing the campground was necessary," said Jacki Bultsma, Chief of Natural Resources, in a press release.
Chamberlain received about 2.2 inches of rain in 24 hours, according to reports to the NWS' office in Sioux Falls. Other surrounding areas received between 1.5 and 3 inches of rain into Monday morning.
The American Creek Campground in Chamberlain also was dealing with high water on Monday, as heavy rains raised water levels from Sunday night into Monday morning. The campground already had opened later than normal this year - May 1 - due to April weather including ice breakup, which had damaged the campground's fishing pier.