St. Clements

Friday, April 26

Selkirk bridge

Heather Stanik

A lifetime resident and current employee of the Rural Municipality of St. Clements

As a lifelong resident of the Rural Municipality of St. Clements, I am all too familiar with our annual spring flooding.

Although as a child, I don't recall the spring flooding to be such a major event [but] I do know in the past few years it is an event that our community prepares to look forward to.

Personally, my interest of watching each year's flood unfold began in 1996 or 1997. I believe it was in 1996 that we experienced major flooding in our south end of the province, and it was 1997 that St. Clements was hit hard.

Not only am I a resident of St. Clements, living on a street that runs along the Red River, with my property also having frontage on Cook's Creek, I am also an employee of the RM. The flood of '97 is what really impacted me to become an avid watcher of the annual flooding.

It was then that I realized just how powerful events can effect a community.

As an employee of St. Clements, there is the hands-on effort of assisting with flood protection --- our passion and dedication to keeping our residents, homes, lands and animals safe.

As a resident, I can say that I have never feared my home being impacted by flooding. But, as I mention, because I live on a road that runs along the Red River as well as Cook's Creek, there is always the possibility of having to evacuate only because of ice jams that may cause our road to have no access to the main roads out.

I do have to admit that my family knows if they want the most up-to-date report from a spectator of where any ice jams are, they can count on me. When I'm not working, I can be found driving with my mother and daughter, looking to see how each year's situation is going or sitting along the banks of the Red River with anticipation of ice jam movement. Some nights I am out until 4 a.m., waiting and waiting for movement of the jam, just so I don't miss out on seeing the fierce strength behind it. 

In my next blog entry, I can share more experiences with some of our past flood events. But for now, I turn my focus onto spring of 2013. Many are asking, "where is spring?" and although many are waiting in anticipation for its arrival, many are sitting back, relaxed and thanking Mother Nature for the warm temperatures during the day and the colder temperatures at night.

With our huge amount of snowfall this winter, most could forecast in their own mind very high water levels with major potential of flooding. Instead it's been a very quiet slow melt. We have observed the ice on the Red River slowly melt, exposing open water past many of the problematic areas where jams are well known to occur.

St. Clements had started preparing sandbags to have on stock if any of the residents required them. Though some residents have already come to pick sandbags up, in order to prepare their yards for possible river or overland flooding, I would say that it still seems very quiet from my point of view.

The Public Works Department has been continuing to steam open any plugged culverts in order for ditches and main drains to run smooth.

Although I can look outside and all seems relatively calm and quiet, we still are preparing for what an above-average temperature weekend could bring.

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