Flood alerts is­sued for 17 com­mu­ni­ties, First Na­tions

Edmonton Journal - - CITY + REGION - JEFF LABINE AND HINA ALAM

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.

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