The water that spilled over from a ditch along Highway 44 Wednesday rushed toward the Caputa Alpaca farm like a wave.
It wouldn't begin to recede until Thursday morning, when the ice and snow that clogged the farm's drainage culvert began to melt. By Friday, owners Glenn and Debbie Lepp said they'd been so busy cleaning up that they hadn't been able to check on the farmland they recently acquired near New Underwood.
"I've got quite a few fences to repair, and I've got to wait until this dries up," Glenn Lepp said.
Melting snow and ice jams resulted in minor floods across southwestern South Dakota this week that the National Weather Service said could worsen this weekend.
By Friday morning, the NWS had mostly received reports of flooding from communities along the White River, where meteorologist Keith Sherburn said additional flooding may yet occur. Residents from Interior to Kadoka could see water rise another foot as snow continues to melt this weekend, he said, possibly obstructing parts of Highway 44.
The Pennington County Sheriff's Office responded late Friday to the scene of a bridge washout on 164th Avenue off of State Highway 1416 near New Underwood. The Sheriff's Office had not determined by press time whether the bridge, which spans Box Elder Creek, was damaged by floodwaters or an ice jam.
The bridge buckled but did not completely collapse, according to the Sheriff's office, and would likely be closed to traffic. No injuries were reported.
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Parts of Oglala Lakota and Jackson counties reported flooding to the NWS last week as well. Few reports, Sherburn said, came from Pennington County.
Little information on flooding on the Pine Ridge Reservation was available through the NWS. River gauges in the reservation did, however, reach record highs according to the NWS.
One gauge by the border with Nebraska recorded a river crest of 19.9 feet, up from the previous record of 19.1 feet recorded in 1991.
The rain that forecasters are calling for this weekend is not likely to exacerbate flooding, according to the NWS. The storm will be long-lived but light, Sherbun said, and should only result in about a quarter-to-half inch of rain.
"We don’t think that’s going to do a whole lot in terms of what’s already there in the rivers," he said.
The Caputa Alpaca farm, where Glenn Lepp said water pooled as high as a foot and a half, was mostly dry by Friday. The flood destroyed fences and ruined hay, but none of their nearly 90 alpacas were harmed and no structures were damaged.
“We got very lucky," he said. "They were all in very good shape."