REGINA — Flood response has shifted to recovery mode in Saskatchewan communities hit hard by heavy rainfall earlier this week.
Emergency management commissioner Duane McKay said it's too soon to know how much damage was caused.
"That'll be determined probably over the next week or so. Right now, in many cases, people are just getting back in and having a look at that," McKay said Thursday.
More than 100 millimetres of rain fell in several places Monday and Tuesday from the southwest corner of Saskatchewan through to the northeast.
Four communities — the towns of Carrot River and Arborfield, the Rural Municipality of Arborfield and the Shoal Lake Cree Nation — remained under states of emergency on Thursday. Those declarations last seven days, unless a community ends it sooner.
"We anticipate that those will probably be lifted by the locals in the near future, a day or two," said McKay.
The town of Arborfield lifted an emergency evacuation notice Thursday.
About 400 residents were ordered to leave their homes Tuesday when a road acting as a kind of berm gave way during heavy rain. The breach allowed water to gush toward the community.
Some residents were allowed to go back on Wednesday, but others had to wait because there was still a risk to public safety in some parts of town.
All 36 residents of a long-term care home in Arborfield were expected to be back home by the end of the day.
However, leaders with Red Earth First Nation north of Prince Albert decided Wednesday afternoon to move 200 people with potential health problems — pregnant women, dialysis patients, the elderly and people with ongoing health issues — out of the community as a precaution due to flood risk.
A Saskatchewan government official says the decision was made because rising water levels along the Carrot River could affect emergency access to the community.
The official says the Red Earth residents will be transported to Saskatoon and housed at a soccer centre and at hotels.
Financial Disaster Assistance Program officials said they've made contact with 18 communities that need help and seven of them have already been designated for financial aid.
Included in that group was the city of Estevan, which lifted its state of emergency Wednesday.
Streets were left looking like rivers in Estevan when storm sewers were unable to keep up with at least 130 millimetres of rain that fell in just over two hours on Sunday.
The assistance program announced plans Thursday to set up a flood recovery centre in Estevan. It will be staffed by program officials who can begin the claims process for people affected by the flooding. A provincial building inspector will also be there to answer questions about structural safety.
Another centre will be set up in Arborfield in the coming days.
Farmers were also waiting for things to dry out to determine if they've lost any crops.
But Rae Groeneveld with Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corp. says there are already some reports of damage.
"It's early in the growing season for some of these crops and, in a lot of cases, producers are giving their crop time to see how it's going to recover from the heavy rainfall event," said Groeneveld.