SD governor urges evacuations as flooding looms

By WAYNE ORTMAN | June 2, 2011 | 3:12 AM EDT

Residents of Dakota Dunes pack up their belongings as the Missouri River continues to rise, in Dakota Dunes, S.D., Wednesday, June 1, 2011. South Dakota officials say progress is being made on levees being built to protect Dakota Dunes, Pierre and Fort Pierre.(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

DAKOTA DUNES, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota's governor is urging some residents to evacuate from three cities considered early trouble spots as officials brace for a prolonged period of Missouri River flooding.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard has asked residents in threatened areas in the state capital of Pierre and neighboring Fort Pierre as well as residents of Dakota Dunes to evacuate by Thursday night.

Daugaard's announcement was a request and not a mandatory evacuation, but law enforcement officials were going door-to-door Wednesday evening to tell residents about it.

Flooding is a concern as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers releases excess water from Missouri River dams after record rainfall across the northern Plains. Heavy runoff from melting Rocky Mountains' snow could soon compound the problem. Officials say flooding could last into July.