February 24, 2020

Emergency Management

If you see something, say something[1]

Union County Office of Emergency Management

Andy Minihan, Emergency Manager

31312 473rd Avenue  Elk Point, SD 57025


EMAIL:  [email protected]


Facebook:  Union County SD Emergency Management




09-20-2019 1430

The Big Sioux River and the Missouri River have only slightly receded from their crest level and each of the rivers are receding much slower than earlier anticipated. Although the dangers of the rivers overtopping their flood control structures is diminished; we remain extremely vigilant in our efforts to ascertain the viability of the river levees and temporary prevention structures to keep the river out of our communities, residences, and populated areas.

With two dangerous Missouri River levee breeches near Omaha in western Iowa in the past two days, we should be reminded that levees may breech at any time and without warning. We ask that our residents remain on highest alert for any issues that we may be presented with until the rivers recede to safer levels.

As we have asked previously, do not be lulled into a false perception that all dangers have passed. Please have your family emergency plan in place and be ready. Both the Missouri River and the Big Sioux River continue to flow with increased speed and extremely increased water volume. Please remain alert and prepared.



09-18-2019 1100 hours


Union County Emergency Management (UCEMA) is continuing to monitor the current water levels of the Big Sioux River and the Missouri River throughout Union County. Direct observation and forecasts from the National Weather Service indicate that both rivers will slowly crest today and then, very slowly recede over the next several days.

Although this is welcoming news, we remain vigilant to the effects of the current river pressures on the temporary protection structures in the Dakota Dunes. We also are monitoring public infrastructure to minimize flooding impacts on personal property on the eastern part of Union County along the Big Sioux River.

Over the next three days, in accordance with the receding water levels, the Army Corps of Engineers will begin to slowly increase the releases from Gavin’s Point Dam until they reach 80,000 cubic feet per second. The National Weather Service forecast is predicting non impactful rainfall for tonight with a possibility of more rain coming this weekend.

Please remain aware of the possibility of unforeseen changes in your surroundings during this event. Do not put yourself in potentially dangerous situations – don’t cross barricades and keep yourself and your family safe by having family emergency plans in place.

Andy Minihan

Union County Emergency Manager

9-14-2019 2140 hours

Union County Emergency Management Agency (UCEMA) continues to monitor the river levels that affect the entirety of our county. We are monitoring the river forecasts and projections from the National Weather Service and we are in continual contact with local municipalities, communities, state, and federal agencies.

Our main message is that you and your family are as prepared as you can be in the event of and prior to a crisis situation. We cannot stress enough, the importance of having a family emergency plan and being prepared for any eventuality.

Always be aware of the status of your surroundings. Know when to make a decision to remove yourself from a potentially dangerous situation. Do not wait for an emergency to happen. Flood mitigation measures are in place and they continually being monitored to ensure their integrity. Forecasts change in each direction but we cannot predict the future. If you think that you would be safer somewhere else, by all means, take the initiative to protect yourself and family.



Due to the recent heavy rains that have inundated the Big Sioux and James River watersheds, Union County will experience rising water levels on the Missouri and Big Sioux Rivers.

At this time, the National Weather Service is forecasting that the Big Sioux River will crest at Hawarden at 27.2 feet on Sunday September 15 and will hold that level until Tuesday September 17, 2019.

The NWS is forecasting that Big Sioux will crest at Akron at 20.5 feet on Monday September 16, 2019.

The Big Sioux River forecast for Sioux City is a crest of 30.2 feet during the overnight hours of Tuesday September 17 through the early morning of September 18, 2019.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has announced that releases from Gavins Point Dam will be scaled back from 70,000 ft.³ per second to 60,000 ft.³ per second over the next five days. After evaluation, The Corps is projected to increase the release from Gavins Point Dam to 80,000 ft.³ per second. Please remember that these river projections are based on forecast from the National Weather Service and do include forecasted precipitation along the Missouri River and its tributaries.

Please remember that forecasts can change without notice. Union County Emergency Management is monitoring the river levels and conditions in conjunction with South Dakota Office of Emergency Management and the United States Army Corps of Engineers. As always, we hope for the best outcome but we should be prepared for any possibility. Please ensure that your family has an emergency plan in place and that all members of your household are prepared and understand their roles in that plan.

As the river levels rise, it may become necessary to close roads and bridges. Please do not drive around barricades. Driving around barricades puts you, your passengers, and response personnel in life threatening danger.

Please refer to the following websites for additional information:



Twitter: UNION COUNTY SD EMA            @UCEMASD




Click here to view the Union County Highway System map
State of South Dakota Highway Road Conditions
South Dakota Office of Emergency Management
Sioux Falls National Weather Service

 Preliminary Damage Assessments

The following are for conducting Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDA).

The link below is a 20 minute video explaining preliminary damage assessments (PDA) for towns & cities, townships, fire departments, certain non-profits, and other political subdivisions. Officials of these types of organizations in Union County are responsible to complete the PDA for their jurisdiction.


Click the following links for Preliminary Damage Assessment forms:

 Roads and Culverts Damage Assessment (1)

Damage Assessment Worksheet – EXAMPLE ONLY

Damage Assessment Worksheet – blank (2)

Map Site – example

PDA tips (2)

Debris to CY’s Conversion Guide (TREES)

Flood Related Links:

Union County Highway Department (Road closure updates)

NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service

For Ag-Producers with flood related losses please use the link below:


FEMA Floodplain Maps
Local Flood Planning Contacts
Official Site of NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) – FloodSmart.gov
South Dakota Flood Disaster Recovery website

Local Emergency Planning Committee information (LEPC):

 Click below for information on LEPC –
Local Emergency Planning Committee

Preparedness Links:

Emergency Preparedness for Kids
Severe Weather Preparedness Guide
Winter Preparedness Guide
Utility Emergency Contacts
MidAmerican Energy: (888) 427-5632