MONTROSE -- As the torrential rainstorm submerged the community of Montrose this week, forcing residents out of their homes, several area hotels extended a helping hand.
After the McCook County Sheriff's Office announced a mandatory evacuation for part of the Montrose community Thursday morning, residents began fleeing for safety. Given the nearest hotels for Montrose locals were situated in Salem, Canistota and Hartford, the last resort for some residents looking to take shelter were 10 to 15 miles away.
The Home Motel in Salem -- which is roughly 12 miles west of Montrose -- was one of the area hotels that offered a discounted rate to Montrose and surrounding area residents who escaped the flooding disaster. Dana Hansen, regional manager of Home Motel in Salem, said the motel was at maximum occupancy by Thursday evening.
“We saw a lot of guests who were living near the evacuated areas that had flooding come and stay that night,” Hansen said of the Thursday night guest stays.
According to Hansen, the Home Motel and the U-Bar Inn and Suites in Canistota, were among the two hotels that offered discounted rates during the torrential rainstorm that displaced a portion of Montrose residents.
According to Alex Trellinger, meteorologist with the National Weather Service of Sioux Falls, the community of Montrose received 5.6 inches of rainfall from Wednesday morning into Thursday evening.
The evacuation was in effect for Montrose residents living along First Avenue from Main Street to State Highway 38, which is located on the east edge of the city where the East Fork of the Vermillion River runs. The evacuation extended to include residents living along Second Avenue from South Dakota Highway 38 to Kluckholm Street.
As the residents living in a portion of the affected areas had until 2 p.m. Thursday to evacuate, another area town hotel stepped up to provide safe place to stay for evacuees.
Roughly 15 miles east of Montrose sits the AmericInn in Hartford, which also offered a discounted rate for all area locals who were affected by the severe flooding.
According to Katie Golay, front desk associate at the AmericInn, the discounted rate for a double bed room was $80 per night, while a single bed room was $90.
“We were nearly nearly full Thursday night,” Golay said. “It was really nice to see our hotel offer the discounted rate, because there was more than just one surrounding town that got hit with severe weather. It was great to see us be a safe place during the whole storm.”
The spike in guests prompted the AmericInn to call upon a few additional housekeepers to staff accordingly.
“Our staff has handled the past two-days really well, and I think everyone understands how important it was for the hotel to offer a safe place to stay for people who were evacuated,” Golay said.
As Montrose residents anxiously await for Mother Nature to help recede the high water levels that submerged a portion of the rural town, they will be asked to add another drastic life alteration upon returning to their homes.
According to former McCook County Emergency Manager Brad Stiefvater, officials issued residents to completely restrict water and sewage usage until further notice. Stiefvater said the sewage and water restriction was announced Friday afternoon, and officials placed portable toilets Friday morning in the Montrose area.
Stiefvater assisted McCook’s Emergency Operation Center over the two-day rainstorm. While Stiefvater said water was beginning to recede Friday in the Montrose area, the evacuation was still in effect Friday.
“The areas that are evacuated will stay evacuated until the water goes down more so the houses aren’t surrounded by water,” Stiefvater said Friday. “We don’t expect any more evacuations, because the hydrologists agree that we will continue to see a drop in water levels going forward.”
As for the road closures in and around Montrose area, Stiefvater said the Highway 30 bridge near Montrose, Highway 81 and Highway 42 were under a no travel advisory as of Friday evening. In addition, most of Interstate 90 stretching from Mitchell to Humboldt remain closed.
“It’s the west Vermillion River that’s causing a lot of the road closures, because it’s receding slowly,” Stiefvater said.
Although there wasn’t a mandatory evacuation issued for the city of Mitchell throughout the two-day rainstorm, the severe flooding prompted some residents to seek shelter away from their homes.
Tori Little Bear, front desk associate at the Super 8 in Mitchell, said there were only four rooms available Thursday night.
“I knew a lot of hotels were really full last night,” Little Bear said of the Thursday evening occupancy levels. “Some of the trailer parks were nearly under water, so I assume people living in those areas had to find a place or a hotel to stay.”