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Flash flood swamps Saskatchewan


Flooding in Regina after a day of heavy rain
Flooding in Regina after a day of heavy rain

Lisa Varano, staff writer

June 19, 2011 — Basements and roads underwater after flash flood in southern Saskatchewan.

Rainfall totals from Friday to Sunday
Rainfall totals from Friday to Sunday

Rain came down so fast and hard in Saskatchewan on Friday that it caused flash floods, which are now having a ripple effect.

Flooding prompted several local emergencies and some evacuations southeast of Regina, in and around Weyburn. Roads and basements were also flooded in the city of Regina itself, where water and sewer concerns shut down the University of Regina.

Environment Canada said between 50 and 100 mm of rain fell in parts of far south and southeast Saskatchewan from Friday to Saturday morning. Other areas saw between 25 and 50 mm of rain.

This late-spring storm comes at the end of a soggy season in the region, Environment Canada says. Far southern Saskatchewan has seen two or more times its average rainfall since the beginning of April.

In Weyburn, which had seen 73 mm of rain by Saturday evening, a state of emergency was declared Friday night. Mayor Debra Button said there was an electrical failure at the city's wastewater treatment plant.

By Saturday, the city had its main lift station operating again, but was forced to turn its attention to a more pressing problem: the rising Souris River.

A flooded trailer home park on the outskirts of the city had to be evacuated by boat, and emergency shelters are up and running.

Aerial surveys of the area on Saturday confirmed that the flood's peak is yet to come. Button urged residents to stay a safe distance back from the swollen river.

“We've got a lot of water moving through Weyburn ... and it's moving very fast,” she said in a phone interview with The Weather Network Sunday.

Button also thanked the community for co-operating with the ongoing boil water advisory and cutting back on their water usage to take the pressure off the struggling water treatment plant.

Flooded trailer park in Weyburn
Flooded trailer park in Weyburn

Because of the heavy rainfall in the Weyburn area, water may be released from dams in the area, and that could cause flooding in Estevan, that city warned residents on Saturday.

Estevan declared a local state of emergency and issued a local evacuation alert for a trailer park, according to the city's website.

All of the wet weather has come from one low pressure system that's been slowly cycling over the Prairies.

“The jet stream's been stuck in a position across the Prairies that has given us a lot of days of active weather and systems that have been moving very slowly,” says Chris Scott, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

The good news is this latest low is starting to weaken as it rotates back towards central Alberta. However, the bad news is more rain is in the forecast through Monday -- and most of it is expected to fall in the areas already hardest-hit by flooding.

With files from Alexandra Pope and Jill Colton

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