Estevan Declares State Of Emergency After Saskatchewan Flash Floods

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ESTEVAN, Sask. — People in most of southern Saskatchewan are being warned that heavy rain — possibly as much as 100 millimetres — could bring flooding.

A rainfall warning was in place Monday from Prince Albert, south to the U.S. border. Environment Canada said heavy downpours could cause flash floods, water pooling on roads and flooding in low-lying areas.

Saskatchewan emergency management commissioner Duane McKay said communities should be prepared.

"Obviously, some of these issues will impact individuals, so we've notified our provincial disaster assistance team and they are ready to go with any help that municipalities might require there as well," McKay said Monday in Saskatoon.

McKay also said there's a large cache of flood equipment, such as barriers and pumps, in southern Saskatchewan from flood responses in 2011, 2012 and 2014.

"The province is well provisioned in terms of making sure that, in the event of a flood in any community that requires equipment, the entire equipment from start to finish would be available. And it's on trailers, so it could be rapidly deployed to particular areas."

A state of emergency was already Sunday in Estevan when roads and basements were left under water by storm sewers unable to handle at least 130 millimetres of rain that fell in just over two hours.

McKay said he hopes the worst is over for Estevan.

"All of the infrastructure, although it was overwhelmed, seems to be keeping up with the removal of the water through lift stations and so on," he said.

"So although it's very dramatic when you see the photos of rivers where streets should be, the systems are working and are beginning to clear that water out of that area. Most of the water in those low-lying areas will cause some damages."

The Red Cross has provided 300 cleanup kits to Estevan, which includes a mop, sponges, brooms, gloves and supplies to safely clean flood-damaged homes and property.

Estevan resident Janet Foord, who was returning home when she was caught driving in the storm, said intersections were flooded and vehicles had water up to their mirrors.

"It took me about 20 minutes to get from the highway to my house, which usually takes about four minutes, just because I couldn't find a dry spot or a high spot to go down without stalling our vehicle," said Foord.

Foord said her neighbours' homes are flooded and the underground parking garage in a condo behind her house is filled with water.

"You could see stuff floating as I walked by."

People trying to get water out of their basements also faced a challenge when the power went out Sunday, because they needed generators to run their sump pumps, Foord said.

SaskPower spokesman Jonathan Tremblay said the storm took out a transformer for about half the city's 11,000 residents. Most of the power was restored in about 4 1/2 hours, Tremblay said.

"You could see stuff floating as I walked by."

But as of Monday there were still outages "here and there" because poles were in water or lines were knocked down by branches.

"It's slow going to send crews out and safely repair those things, especially with all the water on the ground," said Tremblay.

Some roads also flooded in several other communities, including Lloydminster and Yorkton.

Alan Cayford, Lloydminster's director of public works, says the official amount recorded at the airport weather station was 63 millimetres.

"It was a pretty intense and tight-web system that did this to us," said Cayford.

Yorkton Mayor Bob Maloney said his city got about 51 millimetres of rain Sunday night and water pooled on some streets. Yorkton isn't covered by the rainfall warning, but Maloney was apprehensive.

"When it rains at night, I swear to God everybody in Yorkton gets up and looks out the window. We're scarred."

"If we get more rain on top of what we had yesterday, we could have issues," said Maloney.

Yorkton improved drainage from downtown after some 1,000 homes damaged when heavy rain floods basements and turns streets into canals in 2010.

Maloney says since 2010, there have been three or four storms "where it just doesn't stop raining" and residents are leery.

"We have bad memories. When it rains at night, I swear to God everybody in Yorkton gets up and looks out the window. We're scarred."

Also on HuffPost:

Saskatchewan Flooding Aftermath
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