CLAREMONT - Overnight flooding killed at least one person in North Dakota, forced the closure of a county road in the Claremont area and flooded large portions of cropland Thursday.
At least one person was in a pickup truck that was swept off North Dakota Highway 32 about seven miles north of Gwinner, N.D., Sargent County (N.D.) Sheriff Travis Paeper said.
James Materi, 48, of Lisbon, N.D., died after driving his pickup truck into a water-covered portion of Highway 32 about 7:45 a.m. before the truck was swept into a ditch, according to the North Dakota Highway Patrol.
A state Department of Transportation sign and a flagging employee warned of the 8 to 12 inches water when the truck crossed the area at 20 to 25 mph and was swept into the highway's east ditch. The truck was carried down the swollen creek about 300 yards and was on top of the water for about 15 minutes before it disappeared under the water, the patrol said.
Materi was still inside the truck when it was recovered Thursday afternoon.
The North Dakota Department of Transportation reopened Highway 32 between Gwinner and Lisbon on Thursday afternoon, after closing it due to water earlier in the day. Highway 13 west of the city remained closed Thursday afternoon.
In South Dakota, five inches of rain fell north of Claremont, according to reports to the National Weather Service.
Pools of water at least 18 inches deep were spotted alongside County Road 20 between County Road 7 and Claremont.
The Brown County Highway Department closed County Road 7 between state Highway 37 and County Road 20 about 5 miles north of Claremont because water ran over the road, said
See Rain, 9A
Jan Weismantel, county highway superintendent.
The road had water running over it early Thursday morning, but it had cleared by 4 p.m., Weismantel said. The reason she decided to shut down the road was to prevent people from driving on it and causing further damage to the road, she said.
Another concern is that all of the water from the flooding in areas of North Dakota, some of which received up to 8 inches, would flow south into Brown County and cause further damage to the roadways.
Weismantel said she did not have an estimate of how much road repairs will cost, since there could be further damage.
Scott Meints, Brown County emergency management director, said the area affected the most in Brown County was north of Claremont because a lot of cropland was damaged by the excessive water in addition to the damaged roads.
Driving north of Claremont on County Road 20, a person could see numerous fields that were covered in water. In some areas, it was more than a foot deep.
Gary Rasmussen, a Claremont resident, said he estimated that
Claremont received about 3 inches and didn't cause too much damage, especially compared to two years ago, but he did see significant damage farther north.
The farther up north you went, the worse it got, he said.
More thunderstorms are likely to emerge tonight and possibly Saturday, according to the the National Weather Service website. The weather service is projecting a 60 percent chance of severe thunderstorms in Brown County and the surrounding area.
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The Associated Press contributed to this story.