The Rapid City Flood


One of the basic rules of the Boy Scouts, advises campers to never pitch tents in areas that could be flooded.  That’s why I have been puzzled as to why people buy houses built on flood plains on or near greenways below dams or other flood-prone areas.  Flood-02Worse, I’ve wondered why developers are sometimes given permission to construct subdivisions in such places.

A tragic flood swept over a large portion of Rapid City, South Dakota, in 1972. The disaster turned out to be one of the most devastating floods in US history. Flooding left a couple hundreds of fatalities and a few thousand injured people. When I read the news accounts, the Boy Scout lesson came to mind.

The soils in the Black Hills of South Dakota were already saturated because of steady rains that had fallen during the previous days. Then on the afternoon of June 9th, two large…

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