Soil saturation causing problemsJamestown received enough measurable rain during 12 days in June to bring total rainfall for the month to 5.31 inches — 2.7 inches above normal, according to the National Weather Service. The persistent rain is keeping the soil saturated and increasing the amount of runoff into prairie potholes and streams.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
Jamestown received enough measurable rain during 12 days in June to bring total rainfall for the month to 5.31 inches — 2.7 inches above normal, according to the National Weather Service. The persistent rain is keeping the soil saturated and increasing the amount of runoff into prairie potholes and streams.
“We build moisture storage capacity in the ground every day it doesn’t rain,” said Alan Schlag, hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck. “But once the soil is totally wetted the water generally runs off.”
The runoff is accumulating in potholes in the county causing more problems for county and township roads.
“A couple of roads we built up last year went under water with the last rains,” said Mickey Nenow, Stutsman County road superintendent. “A few more county roads have water going across them.”
The height of those road grades was increased last year under the Emergency Road program. The federal program provides 80 percent funding with a 20 percent local match for grade raises to roads closed by flooding.
Nenow said the ground saturation is limiting the weights the roads can carry. This is slowing the process of making road repairs.
“We can’t even haul legal loads because it wrecks more roads than it fixes,” he said. “Road restrictions stay in place because everything is wet.”
The wet weather and saturated soil are creating problems in Jamestown as well.
“There was one report of new damage from the Sunday rain event in Jamestown,” said Jerry Bergquist, Stutsman County emergency manager. “There may be others; they just haven’t notified us yet.”
Along with home property damage the saturated soil continues to stress the Jamestown sanitary sewer system. The city engineer’s office continues to recommend residents maintain plugs in floor drains to prevent sewage backups into homes.
The odd/even water use schedule also remains in place. The city is asking residents in even-numbered homes to limit large water uses such as dishwashers or laundry to even-numbered days. Residents in odd-numbered homes are asked to perform those chores on odd-numbered days.
Schlag said the concern at this time is the soil saturation and localized runoff.
“There’s lots of storage capacity in the dams,” he said. “The ability to stop a large rain event above Jamestown is in place. The overland flooding is a local issue. The potholes are all full and the groundwater is high.”
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at (701) 952-8452 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Property owners with flood-related damage since February are asked to contact the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services.
At this time there is no available Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance to private property owners outside Burleigh and Ward counties, said Jerry Bergquist, Stutsman County emergency manager. The information is being accumulated and may be used as part of an updated request for individual assistance in other counties.
To report damage, contact the DES’ Flood Damage Hotline at 877-212-0316.