More than 100 Sioux Falls workers prep for heavy rain storm

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Since the last storm system rolled in on Saturday, crews have been preparing for this week's rain event in Sioux Falls. The principal engineer, Lance Weatherly, who focuses on storm water in the city, doesn't expect intersections to flood like they did over the weekend.
They want to be prepared for the worst though.

John Fenderson is normally the lead operator at the Sioux Falls Landfill.

"If we get called to help out, we come," he said.

Sioux Falls has about 100 employees working in all corners of the city clearing storm inlets. Crews are from light and power, water purification, water reclamation, the landfill and parks and recreation.

"It's a whole 'One Sioux Falls' effort," Lance Weatherly said. "We want to be prepared. We always want to be prepared for the worst."

Weatherly said the city is looking ahead too. He's preparing for when the Big Sioux River and Skunk Creek start to melt. He doesn't expect that to happen for at least another week or two, but there could be potential flooding with it.

"We have some pumps staged in strategic places in the community. We also have some equipment like a long stick backhoe ready to go if we get some ice jams on some bridges," he said.

But they're taking one event at a time. Weatherly said for now, the critical storm inlets are open. Crews have been using an interactive map available to the public to find out where they're located. You can view where some of the nearest storm inlets are to you here. Some have even been answering service requests from the One Link City app.

"It's stressful. It's sweaty. It's hard work, but most of them we're getting. We're driving block to block and clearing them all," Fenderson said.

Some inlets just need a shovel to clear but others need the shovel and an ice pick.

"If it's really thick, we have a big 40-pound bar there," he said.

Many requests to clear a storm inlet have been received through the One Link app. It's been two weeks since the city launched this app. The director of innovation and technology, Jason Reisdorfer, said usage of the app was up 25% over the weekend. The app has been downloaded more than 3,300 times. Crews have been answering these requests through the app. Homeowners can help with storm inlets by clearing the snow in the area.