Flood alerts issued for 17 communities, First Nations
More than a dozen Alberta communities remained on alert Tuesday as melting snow and high water levels washed out rural roads and threatened some properties.
To the east of Edmonton, a few farm houses in the northern portion of Strathcona County near Astotin Creek were at risk of flooding.
Water levels were high in the Astotin and Ross Creek areas, said David Churchill, Strathcona County’s director of transportation and agriculture services.
“The creeks have spilled their banks,” he said.
To protect the properties, the county is making sure culverts are open, bridge structures are clear and sandbags and berms were provided. Some rural roads have been closed because of flooding.
Lamont County, which issued a state of local emergency Monday, said Tuesday it had more than 200 sections of road identified as “areas of concern.”
Elk Island Public School division said buses in the county would be cancelled again Wednesday because of the problems.
Lamont County resident Ashley Kaban and her family had no choice but to wait out the situation Monday when flooded roads meant they had no way out of the area.
The Kabans and their neighbours rely on Range Road 184. When Kaban’s husband went to work in the morning, the water was as high as the doors of his F-150 pickup, but as of Monday, there was no flooding around their house.
A peace officer told area residents about the state of emergency, but the family decided to stay.
“We have cattle and we have chickens, dogs and cats,” Kaban said. “We can’t abandon them. We have to make sure they are fed and watered. We have cows everywhere and there’s coyotes everywhere. We can’t just leave everything.”
She was told it could take up to five days to get the road cleared, so she has already stocked up on supplies. With nothing expected to change for a couple of days, Kaban admitted she was a little nervous.
“It is upsetting a little bit because you are stuck everywhere,” she said.
Kaban’s neighbour, Curtis Childs, stressed that, at the moment, everyone was fine despite being stranded.
He added that since the county closed the one exit road, there’s no way they could leave even if they wanted to.
Childs, who has lived in the Lamont community for 12 years, said this is the worst flooding he’s experienced. He plans to make the best out of the situation, though, inviting his neighbours over for a dinner party so they can talk out the situation and ensure everyone is OK. Being isolated isn’t new for the homeowners on Range Road 184, as the road is sometimes blocked by snow for short periods of time.
The only difference this time is that the snow is usually plowed within a day, whereas the washedout road won’t be cleared for a few days.
“It is nothing we are worried about,” he said. “(The county) told us if we need to get out, whether it be for supplies or we just don’t feel safe, they will come get us.”
Overland flood alerts spanned the province Tuesday afternoon, ranging from the County of Forty Mile in the southeast to the Municipal District of Fairview in the northwest. An update from the province said 17 municipalities, First Nations and communities were under an emergency alert.
Rising water caused by an ice jam on the Little Red Deer River in central Alberta prompted officials to ask some people to leave their homes Monday, while farther southeast on the Rosebud River, residents weren’t given a choice.
The Town of Drumheller issued a mandatory evacuation order late Monday for residents and businesses in the community of Wayne and along Highway 10X due to high water in the Rosebud River.
The Village of Rycroft, about 500 km northwest of Edmonton, said in a statement on its website that basement flooding and sewer backups were possible and residents should do what they can to minimize the amount of water flowing into the sewage system.
Roads across Lamont County have been affected by flooding. Lamont County resident Ashley Kaban took this photo of the road near her home.