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Mayor: Most Canton homes experienced some degree of flooding

Communities across southeast South Dakota continue flood recovery efforts. That includes Canton, where the mayor estimated three-quarters of homes had some degree of flooding.

Canton didn’t see scenes of homes or streets collapsing like other communities, but that doesn’t mean there was no damage.

Rivers are still above their banks and some roads remain closed, but the community has returned to day to day life as the water begins to recede.

Mayor Sandra Lundstrom explained the situation.

“The biggest problem we had was water rushing out of the country and into the city streets – we had several streets underwater, sandbagging was going on," Lundstrom said. "We had hundreds of volunteers, which saved the city, along with saving people from themselves because they drove through barricades over running water on the roads.”

On the whole, there were relatively few displacements in the community – primarily people living in basement apartments.

She said she’s never experienced a flood this severe before.

“We have a park south of town down by the river – it’s called Chautauqua – and I was born and raised here, and that’s the highest I’ve ever seen the river," Lundstrom said. "It came up so high it almost went into our city works shop. It was pretty overwhelming, but things are getting back to normal.”

A common theme following this emergency has been residents questioning their community flood plans. For Canton, Lundstrom said some changes are looming.

"The flood plan that we have I think is intact," Lundstrom said. "As a matter of fact, we followed the emergency plan from 2003, which is quite detailed to what steps to be taken. The water that was rushing into town on a few of our streets came from the country. One of the county commissioners is looking into a task force to see how that can be avoided in the future.”

As the town moves into the recovery phase, Lundstrom stressed patience among residents most impacted by the flood.

Environment Top StoriesFloodingCanton & Lincoln County, South Dakota
C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture