The amount of flood damaged property in Davison County has climbed to more than $11 million in value.
That is the figure — $11,606,274.53, to be exact — that Davison County Emergency Management Administrator Jeff Bathke has totaled from 313 reports of damage in the county from the mid-September flooding that hit the region hard.
It does not include a complete assessment of the county and township road and bridge damage, Bathke said. He is still waiting for that to be finalized.
Bathke said there’s also about 30 reports that are still missing dollar amounts, and figures that to total an additional couple hundred thousands of dollars. The deadline for those damage totals to be reported was Monday.
That figure is on top of the 354 sites and $696,142.42 in damage in Davison County reported from the spring storms and flooding, as well.
While the county is pursuing assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Administration — which will likely be months away, if approved — Bathke said he’s been struck by the resolve of local residents who are moving on the best they can.
“The main concern is that we’ve got a lot of people that have already made the decision to move forward,” he said. “They don’t have money to fix their homes. It’s starting to get cold, and they might still not have a furnace in their basement. We’ve got long-term effects to property in the county that will remain a factor for a long time.”
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Davison County Commission members took a tour of the damage in the basement of the courthouse building, which was built in 1937. Bathke said the building’s basement still has water coming up through the floor, even nearly a month after the hardest rains that dropped more than 7 inches of precipitation in a 48-hour span in Mitchell.
“The basement has been pretty much stripped, and all of the sheetrock and flooring have been taken out. … But there’s still that constant wetness on the floor,” he said.
Bathke said there has only been brief conversations regarding potential mitigation efforts on creeks and streams. He said the focus is on getting the county’s currently damaged roads opened.
“We know we can get mitigation done in the future, but we’re just trying to get roads back open. The Highway Department is trying to do what they can to get them open so we can get things settled for winter. Next summer, we might be able to repair to a higher standard, but if we get snow early and it’s closed all winter, that’s going to be a big issue for people.”
And there is fear about the upcoming winter weather, particularly the threat — albeit small — of significant snowfall in the region later this week. The National Weather Service said Wednesday afternoon that Mitchell could receive anywhere from a trace amount to 3 inches of snow by Saturday, with higher snow totals to the west and north.
“You still have a lot of people with windows out and damage to the exterior of their homes,” Bathke said. “A little bit of a shift in that forecast, and we could end up with a lot of serious issues. There’s a lot of people out there that have been buying sheetrock and repairing their basements, and if that forecast shifts a little bit and everything melts again and we have more water, we might be right back to where we were.”