Flood info: Rumors

2011-06-21T03:41:00Z 2011-07-05T17:09:09Z Flood info: Rumors Sioux City Journal
June 21, 2011 3:41 am

This is a running list of rumors that residents are hearing about flooding, flood prevention, city decisions and more. If you have a rumor you have heard, send it to suxflood2011@gmail.com with the subject line "rumors" or just add a comment below and we will try to get an answer immediately.

Last updated July 5 at 5:09 p.m.

Rumor: I was told that some homeowners at the Dunes are stripping expensive stones from fireplaces, marble from kitchens and good woodwork and selling it cheap to contractors.


Truth: No one at the Dunes is aware of any such thing. Spokesman Steve Long said that a number of residents have had contractors remove things like those, especially woodwork, so it doesn’t get damaged by the water or humidity and can be replaced in good condition after the flooding.

Rumor: I have heard that after the College World Series is over, the Corps plans to crank the dam open wider. Is this true?

Answer: False. The Corps does not plan to exceed the 160,000 CFS rate at this time.

Rumor: The Gavins Point Dam is cracking due the release of the large amounts of water and the Corps has strategically placed explosives on the dam to blow it so some of the dam will be saved for its energy producing capabilities.

Answer: False. The Corps of Engineers has said this is not true and that the Gavins Point Dam is functioning as designed. The dam is designed to release up to 584,000 cfs.

Rumor: Ponca State Park is closed indefinitely and Ponca are affected by the floods and people cannot get to the park because of this.

Answer: False. The lower campground site at Ponca State Park is closed - a total of 20 campground sites. The rest of our 2400 acres is open and sits high on the Missouri Bluffs. No roads are directly affected in and around the city of Ponca or Ponca State Park, and all camping, tenting, cabins and mini lodges are open and in no danger of flooding whatsoever.

Rumor: I heard one of the two levees at Wynstone had a breach and the water is coming in around Adam's Nature Preserve.

Answer: False. According to Dan Grewing, Park Manager at Adam's Nature Preserve, there was no breach at all in the Wynstone levee. The only water that was coming in was coming in through the bags at the south end of Mud Lake. It was designed for that purpose,Grewing said, noting that the nature preserve is acting as a sponge.

Rumor: The Fort Randall Dam is cracked and bowing.

Answer: False. The Corps of Engineers issued a statement this week that all of its dams along the Missouri are structurally sound.

Rumor: A levee has broken in Dakota Dunes.

Answer: False. A levee is being repaired and filled with rip-rap after it was discovered around 6:30 a.m. June 16, 2011, that a hole had formed under water. Officials have filled the hole and are monitoring it constantly.

Rumor: Riverfronts Apartments in South Sioux City is telling tenants they may return to their apartments.

Answer: False. Riverfront management asked all tenants to evacuate the premises earlier this month in anticipation of flooding and they are not telling anyone they may return. No date for tenants to return to the complex has been determined.

Rumor: Is it true that people who were in the middle of building homes around Siouxland are now either paying more for building materials or unable to purchase building materials to finish their homes because everything is going to flood work?

Answer: False. According to L&L Builders Estimator Steve Nelson, there are plenty of materials available and the prices are not going up. "The only area there was concern was the availability of sump pumps and floor drains that plug the sewer lines in the house, that was the only shortage," Nelson said. He also noted that there may be some temporary concrete price increases.

Rumor: Some people in the Dunes area are leaving for their second homes saying "Let the bank have this one."

Answer: Unverified. Julie Schmidt with Security National Bank says she has not experienced any. "I can't speak for other institutions but we have not experienced any and I haven't heard of any," Schmidt said.

Rumor: The Corps of Engineers is planning to start a 170,000 CFS release.

Answer: The Corps does not plan to exceed the 160,000 CFS rate at this time.

Rumor: The Floyd River is supposed to back up into people's basement.

Answer: False, according to Chris Payer, Public Works Director. Both flood gates and flap gates on the Floyd River are currently functioning properly. If the Floyd has an event that would get high enough crews may close the floodgates. Pumps are being stationed to dewater low lying areas behind the levees.

Rumor: I heard the max amount of water being released was 150,000 cubic feet per second, and now I heard they are increasing it to 185,000.

Answer: At this time, the planned release is 150,00 cfs. However, the cumulative total water flowing through Sioux City is closer to 185,000, because it includes water from the Vermillion, James and Big Sioux Rivers.

Rumor: Awesome Biker Nights is going to be cancelled last minute and out of towners are beign discouraged from attending. 

Answer: “It is on. It is on. It is not cancelled,” according to Nancy Watson, event coordinator of Awesome Biker Nights. We are ready to rock and roll. For more on the event, www.awesomebikernights.com.

Rumor: The individuals who vandalized evacuated homes on West Third Street in South Sioux City have been caught.

Answer: South Sioux City Police Lt. Chuck Carson said investigators are "talking to people," but no arrests have been made.

Rumor: I heard that they shot 250 deer in Pierre because their hooves were poking holes in the plastic covering the levy, and further that they just threw them in the river.

Answer: True and False. According to Communications Manager for the Division of Wildlife, Chuck Schlueter, 35 deer have been shot and disposed of because they were a threat to the dike's plastic covering.

Rumor: A levee is leaking in Riverside.

Answer: False. Water is pooling in Riverside because of overnight rains.

Rumor: The toll bridge in Decatur, Neb., is closing.

Answer: False, according to Jim Maryott, a toll taker at the famous bridge. "The bridge is not closing. As far as we know, there are no plans to close the bridge," he said Monday, June 13. Monona County Sheriff Jeff Pratt confirmed that the bridge will stay open.

Rumor: The operators of the Arbor Apartments, 1000 E. 17th St., in South Sioux City have told residents to vacate the premises because of flood concerns.

Answer: False. According to an advisory issued Monday, June 13, from Dakota County Emergency Management, residents have been informed that should an evacuation become necessary, residents will be responsible for moving their own home furnishings.

Rumor: Flooding caused a fire at the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant north of Omaha.

Answer: The plant was shut down on April 11 for scheduled maintenance and remains offline because of flooding in the area. The fire was in an electrical switch room, and was unrelated to flooding. Officials there are monitoring the flood closely. Here is the Associated Press story.

Rumor: Bev's on the River is not refunding any wedding reception deposits for receptions they cannot host due to high water?

Answer: False. Jesse Miller with Bev's on the River said that he has been contacting people with parties planned for June and July to inform them of the cancellation. Receptions planned after July are still scheduled, Miller said, pending what happens with the flood waters. "They are getting a 100 percent refund," Miller said.

Rumor: Displaced flood victims must move out of their hotel rooms for the Awesome Biker Night's guests.

Answer: In some cases, true. Ed Sweet, General Manager with Clarion Hotel, Sioux City, said that flood victims were offered a special rate and that the Awesome Biker Night's group booked and paid in advance. "They are entitled to their stay with us," Sweet said. "Unfortunately, it's a matter of availability." Guests will have to check out on Friday, June 17 and will be able to check back in on Sunday, June 19. Check with each hotel specifically for their policy.

Rumor: That Sioux City's drinking water will be contaminated by the flooding and/or that the city's Water Treatment Plant will stop operation.

Answer: False to both. Ricky Mach, the city's plant superintendent, said, "We're in full operation there and there is no change to water quality. We do not anticipate any problems."

Rumor: The Tyson Events Center is closing.

Answer: False. According to Erika Newton, with the Tyson Events Center, there are no plans to close the Tyson Events Center at this time.

Rumor: Will MidAmerican Energy shut off power in Siouxland if the water is still rising or just in certain areas?

Answer: According to MidAmerican Energy Media Relations Manager Tina Potthoff, there are three ways that power will be discontinued to a customer.

1. If the customer requests it. Customers who have water in their basement should call MidAmerican Energy with questions.)

2. If MidAmerican decides a situation is hazardous.

3. If Local emergency officials request service be disconnected in an impacted area.

Rumor: Half of South Sioux City will be under water as a result of flooding.

Answer: False. CNN erroneously reported this based on inaccurate information. The information is being corrected by officials in South Sioux City.

Rumor: I've heard Tyson will be closing its Dakota City plant.

Answer: False. According to Tyson spokesman Worth Sparkman, the latest estimates, even under a worst-case-scenario, flood waters will not reach sufficient elevations to affect Tyson's Dakota City beef plant at all. The plant is running now and we currently expect it to continue operating. The Dakota Dunes office remains open. It's well above the projected flood stage; however, in case conditions change we have contingency plans in place to ensure there is no business interruption.

Rumor: Heard that they are drilling holes in some of the houses in Dakota Dunes so that if it floods they collapse and go down the river rather the going down whole. Is this true?

Answer: False. According to Jeni Lawver with the EOC in Dakota Dunes that is incorrect. "We are not doing that. Absolutely not," said Lawver.

Rumor: The Argosy can't steer, so if the water gets too high it'll break away and run into the railroad bridge.

Answer: False. According to Argosy Casino Compliance Manager Tasha Barker, the boat is fully operational and is a permanently moored vessel. In house engineers recently completed a structural review and several areas were fortified.

Rumor: The city of Sioux City plans to concrete shut the man holes on the streets so that water will not blow them off and flood the streets.

Answer: False. City Engineer Scott Logan said that crews will place sandbags on top of the manholes that are along the riverfront to prevent the covers from coming off. The city has no plans to cement any of the manholes shut.

Rumor: Is it true that there will be no way to get to Alorica other than the interstate because downtown Sioux City will be flooded?

Answer: False. Alorica Site Director Mike Freeman says there are multiple ways to get to Alorica in North Sioux City including West 19th Street, Military Road and Interstate 29, all of which are currently operational and that they do not anticipate difficulty with Alorica employees getting to work.

Rumor: Argosy Casino is closed.

Answer: False. Argosy Casino Compliance Manager Tasha Barker says the casino is not closed or preparing to close at this time.

Rumor: Casino Omaha is closed.

Answer: True. Casino Omaha is closed due to flooding expected in the coming days.

Rumor: U-Haul is charging customers double or triple the normal rate for rentals due to high demand.

Answer: False. Kent Frohock with Standard Bearings Co. of Sioux City said that U-Haul has not changed the rates at all. It's the same rental rate they have had for years.

Rumor: Eppley Airfield in Omaha is closing because of flooding.

Answer: False. An Eppley Airfield official in Omaha said they do not anticipate any impact from the projected flooding. Joe Rotterdam, Operations Supervisor, said the airport is closely monitoring the river, but that a levee that borders the airport is 42 feet and the Corps of Engineers estimates that the river level in Omaha will only reach 36. Rotterdam said that the website flyoma.com has river data as it relates to the airport.

Rumor: Is it true that if the homeowners whose houses are being flooded go get a home equity line of credit mortgage that the 30-day waiting period for flood insurance will be waived?

Answer: True. We have heard of several local lenders who are offering a home equity line of credit that includes flood insurance and the 30-day waiting period for flood insurance is being waived. On June 6, FEMA issued a statement that indicates these policies may not be fulfilled by the government.

Rumor: Heard that if you are flooded because of this event that your flood insurance will not cover it because this is a man made flood?

Answer: False. This is not a man-made flooding incident. Increased water releases are based on drainage from precipitation in higher elevations, which has forced greater releases along the Missouri River dams. Find more information at www.floodsmart.gov or by calling 888-379-9531.

Rumor: The Vermillion-Newcastle bridge has closed and/or is unsafe to travel on.

Answer: False. According to the Clay County Sheriff's office, the bridge is open. There are no problems with the bridge. A contractor is currently placing rip-rap near the South Dakota side of the river to protect the river bank.

Rumor: There is a mandatory evacuation at Dakota Dunes.

Answer: False. There is no mandatory evacuation of the Dunes. However, S.D. Gov. Dennis Daugaard has said that all residents should evacuate the planned community, and said that by midnight June 3 that residents in the country club neighborhood should evacuate immediately as waters rise into those areas.  

Rumor: I have heard that they are turning the lift station off in Riverside.

Answer: The city shut off the flood gates in Riverside area as of Thusday, June 2, so that drainage water does not back up in the storm sewers. The city has pumps in the gates and it pumps water over the top of the levees, rather than running it through the pipes, according to Don at the Flood information center.

Rumor: Blue Lake in Onawa is closing.

Answer: True. The park closed on Monday for an indefinite time. A park official says that they expect the water table to rise 10 feet, which would inundate much of the state park campground.

Copyright 2015 Sioux City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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