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Relief for Prairie farmers

Flooded fields in Prince Albert, SK
Flooded fields in Prince Albert, SK

Andrea Stockton, staff writer

July 8, 2010 — Aside from the rain easing up across the Prairies, more relief is in store.

Trans-Canada Highway flooded
Trans-Canada Highway flooded

It's look like the Prairie provinces will receive up to 450 million dollars.

After a wet and damaging spring, farmers left most of their farmland unseeded and lost the majority of their crops. Prime Minister Stephen Harper took to the skies Thursday for a bird's-eye view of the waterlogged communities first-hand.

The federal and provincial governments announced that the farmers affected by the flooding will receive a portion of the money to help protect and restore damaged crops. Officials say the payment will help to maintain the lands so farmers can prepare and get ready for a better year in 2011.

While the spring is usually the wettest time of the year for the region, this spring saw remarkable rainfall amounts. Some places in both Alberta and Saskatchewan saw a month's worth of rain in only a day's time. Not only were fields and farms flooded, but several days were spent pumping out water from basements and backyards.

Severe flooding even lead to parts of the Trans-Canada Highway being swallowed by a sinkhole.

Thunderstorm risk for the Prairies
Thunderstorm risk for the Prairies

Most recently, an F3 tornado was confirmed ripping through the Kawacatoose reserve near the town of Raymore, Saskatchewan. In less than a minute the powerful tornado tore dozens of homes and farms to shreds.

A state of emergency was also declared in Yorkton, Saskatchewan last Thursday after heavy rain flooded streets in waist-deep water.

While conditions have improved significantly, the risk for more rain remains.

“There's a chance for some isolated severe thunderstorms this evening stretching from eastern Alberta to southern Manitoba,” says The Weather Network's meteorologist Gerald Cheng. The greatest threat with these storms will be hail and strong winds.

With files from The Canadian Press.

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