Three more Sask. communities declare states of emergency, bringing total to 54
Published Wednesday, July 2, 2014 12:40PM CST Last Updated Wednesday, July 2, 2014 7:39PM CST
Three more Saskatchewan communities have declared states of emergency due to flooding, bringing the total number of declarations to 54, provincial officials said Wednesday.
The village of Tantallon and the rural municipalities of Elfros and Ituna are the latest communities to make declarations, while the town of Grenfell has lifted its state of emergency.
Precautionary boil water advisories were in effect for the communities of Abernethy, Lemberg and Welwyn, as well as Moosomin Regional Park.
More than 300 residents remain out of their homes due to flooding from the weekend storms that dumped over 240 millimetres of rain on some areas of southeastern Saskatchewan.
Premier Brad Wall toured some of the hardest-hit areas in the flood zone by helicopter Wednesday.
“I have a hard time describing what I saw from the air, in terms of just the amount of water that is literally everywhere," Wall told a media scrum in Melville.
"It’s hard to fathom, it’s hard to properly explain the amount of water, even if you see it.”
Colin King, the province’s deputy commissioner of emergency management, said some southeastern communities – including Carnduff, Gainsborough, Carievale and Storthoaks – are expected to soon shift their efforts.
“The flows are receding a little bit, and we anticipate that this general area may be one of the earliest to begin to transition to a recovery and cleanup.”
“Our crews out there are probably helping some of them respond, but many of them are going to transition to recovery soon.”
However, officials noted the flood threat remains high in the lower Qu’Appelle Valley, where lakes are expected to peak around the levels seen during the 2011 flood.
The province is sending manpower, equipment and sandbags to help protect cottages and other property in the Crooked and Round lake areas.
“We’re very concerned about Round and Crooked lakes,” said Patrick Boyle with the provincial Water Security Agency.
“These lakes are rising and we should see the peaks moving through over the next few days.”
Boyle added that Last Mountain Lake is also rising, and levels are expected to remain high through the summer.
Seventeen sections of highway remained closed due to flooding, but the Trans-Canada Highway reopened to eastbound traffic between Regina and Whitewood on Wednesday. Westbound traffic on Highway 1 was still being detoured.
A section of Highway 16 between Elfros and Dafoe was remained closed due to a washout, while Highway 10 was still shut down from Melville to Balcarres.
Premier Wall has said the cost of damage from flooding in southeastern Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba could exceed the $360 million total from the 2011 flood.