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Floods displace hundreds in Estevan and Weyburn

10:28 Jun 20 2011 Estevan, Saskatchewan

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Flood-battered residents of southeast Saskatchewan fled their homes Sunday after another night of heavy rain.

About 400 people were ordered to leave the Willow Park Greens trailer park at Estevan, about 200 kilometres southeast of Regina, amid new flood threats after water was released from dams and 27 millimetres of rain fell overnight.

Holly Boreski said she received a knock on the door at around 11 p.m. CST and was told she had to leave immediately.

"You know, grab a duffle bag of clothes and go. I have four children so it's most important just to get out," she said.

Some evacuees ended up staying at an emergency shelter in the city while others were staying with family.

On Monday, when she returned to salvage some frozen food, there was about 60 centimetres of water on the roads around homes in the park, Boreski said.

Estevan situation worsens
Meanwhile, the flooding situation was much worse for some farmers downstream of the Rafferty and Boundary dams.

The Saskatchewan Watershed Authority said late Sunday it would increase combined floods from the dam reservoirs to 550 cubic metres per second — enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool every five seconds.

That's bad news for Guy Mehler who, with the help of family and friends, had to build a two-metre high earthen dike around his home on the weekend.

Monday morning the water was just about 30 centimetres from flowing over the top, he said.

"It's a terrible feeling," he said, adding that if the water-flow out of the reservoirs is increased again, he expects he'll be flooded.

He has a boat gassed up and ready to go, he said.

"I've lived here for 30 years and I've never, ever, ever, seen anything like this before," Mehler said. "It's just water from one side of the valley to another."

Weyburn gets another 40 mm of rain
There have also been people forced out of their homes in Weyburn, northwest of Estevan.

The town declared a state of emergency last week after torrential rains overwhelmed the sewer system.

Since Friday, Weyburn has received 112 millimetres of rain, with 40 mm falling Sunday night.

In the surrounding area, fields are filled with water and many farmers have given up on planting a crop this year. Monday morning, a CBC reporter saw a number of two-metre tall hay bales almost completely under water.

About a dozen evacuees stayed overnight at the emergency shelter at a local rink, but 160 people have registered with the emergency centre, said George Barker, a Red Cross regional co-ordinator.

Some people had sewage backing up into their homes and had to leave for health and safety reasons, he said.

According to Environment Canada, more showers and thunderstorms are expected again Monday over southeast Saskatchewan.

Another 15 to 30 millimetres is possible by evening, the weather agency said. Estevan has received 287 millimetres of rain since May 1, making it the wettest May-June period since record-keeping began in 1945.
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