More snow anticipated

Jenna Petrak

Jenna PetrakReporter

With over two feet of snow this winter and more predicted, Brookings residents can anticipate flooding.

Extension State Climatologist Dennis Todey said there are currently 15 inches of snow on the ground in Brookings. So far, this winter has had a total of 27.5 inches.

“This is the second highest [amount of snow] on record for early January,” Todey said.

This is not a distant second place. Todey said the highest amount for early January was observed in 2008-2009, when Brookings received 27.7 inches. Todey said he was surprised by this.

“I originally thought we would be on the dry side this winter,” Todey said.

Todey said this winter has been colder than average because of La Niña, which is associated with cooler than normal temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean. Temperatures have been 3 to 4 degrees below average since Dec. 1.

However, Todey said, there have not been extremely cold temperatures.

“Last year at this point it reached 20 degrees below zero four times,” he said.

Todey said the coldest it has been this year is 10 degrees below zero.

“We haven’t had really nasty, cold temperatures,” Todey said.

Todey said it is hard to predict how much more snow there will be, but he is confident there will be more snow and cold temperatures due to La Niña and heavy, packed snow.

Brookings City Manager Jeff Weldon said the street department has set a budget of $2.9 million for 2011, which includes snow removal.

“We have spent $37 thousand for salt and sand,” Weldon said.

Weldon said the city does not have a permanent plan for the rest of the winter snow removal. Instead, he said, the city makes a specific plan for snow removal with each snowfall.

“We always plow emergency routes first and then the less traveled roads,” Weldon said.

Todey said we will see flooding problems in the spring.

Although Todey does not know how much flooding there will be, he knows there will be problems and he predicts that residents can use last year as a guide.

“[Residents should] be ready in similar flooding areas as last year,” Todey said.

Todey said the SDSU extension office has an emergency preparation kit for residents looking to prepare for spring flooding. He also said residents can prepare their important items and be ready for flooding in the spring.

Weldon said the city is working to improve the storm drainage system to help prevent flooding when the snow melts in the spring by “spending money on managing the storm drainage system.”