Rainstorm hammers parts of southern Manitoba

Heavy rainfall once again hit communities in southwestern Manitoba, re-flooding at least one town that has been cleaning up from flash flooding over the weekend.

Reston, Man., hit again after residents had been cleaning from weekend flash flood

CBC's Jill Coubrough reports from Reston, Man., which has been flooded by heavy rainfall for the second time this week. Nearby communities have also experienced flooding. 1:36

Heavy rainfall once again hit communities in southwestern Manitoba, re-flooding at least one town that has been cleaning up from flash flooding over the weekend.

The Tuesday night storm rolled through much of southern Manitoba, including the rural municipalities of Albert and Pipestone, which had declared states of emergency due to overland flooding that began Friday night.

The worst hit area was Reston, Man., located between Melita and Virden, which received 104 millimetres of rain from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday.

The flooding in Reston, Man., is remarkable, says CBC News reporter Jill Coubrough, who was in the area Wednesday (Jill Coubrough/CBC)

The storm hit just four days after the community was clobbered with 141 mm and experienced flash flooding.

In the RM of Pipestone, which includes Reston, at least 75 homes were flooded by that weekend storm.

About 50 basements flooded during Tuesday's storm, said Pipestone Reeve Ross Tycoles.

"The water is as high as it was early Saturday morning. It's miserable," resident Irene Hellebakken told CBC News on Tuesday evening.

"Everything's floating again out on the street, so [it's] high enough to do that."

Rainfall amounts

Reston104 mm
Carberry84 mm
Souris61 mm
Virden55-65 mm
Brandon37 mm (70 mm in some parts)
Winnipeg6.4 mm

Hellebakken's house was surrounded by water as a result of the weekend flooding. The basement was submerged in over a metre of water and everything in the garage was floating.

"It's not fun. We've just started the cleanup from the weekend and now we're probably going to have to do it all over again," she said.

The school in Reston was closed on Wednesday due to water covering the streets and Highway 2 west of the community was also closed for the same reason.

Many roads closed

Darwin Gray, the foreman of the RM of Albert, said virtually every road is closed because they are washed out or under water.

In fact, Gray has run out of Road Closed signs and needs to make more.

Bridges are washed out, culverts have been dislodged and are in the middle of fields, and roads just disappear.

Gray said most of the roads they're dealing with are gravel and couldn't handle all the rushing water.

He called the situation a "nightmare" and is asking people who live in the area to call the town office to either report a road washout or ask if their particular stretch is open before venturing out.

Virden Mayor Jeff McConnell said all but one home on his cul-de-sac flooded and dozens of other homes have water in their basements.

"We were caught totally off-guard by it, to be quite frank, because we've never had an event like this. I live right on the creek and last night, right after the rain, it had risen three feet," he said.

Sewers were so full of water at one point overnight that municipal officials opened bathrooms at a community centre so people could use those facilities instead of overwhelming their own.

Officials are looking for volunteers to help pump out basements and clean up today, McConnell said.

Streets were also swamped in Brandon Tuesday night and police were called to direct traffic.

The Manitoba government started operating the Portage Diversion on Wednesday to reduce flows from the Assiniboine River in light of the recent rainfall.

The diversion is operating as a precaution, a spokesperson confirmed to CBC News.

Lightning strikes home

Tuesday's storm began with an intense lightning show, creating non-stop flashing across the western sky.

But it also came with a scare for a Winnipeg family whose home in the 200 block of Linden Avenue, near Henderson Highway, was struck at about 1 a.m. Wednesday.

The strike also ignited a fire in the attic.

The family managed to get out safely but damage to their home is estimated at $100,000.

Wind gusts from the storm, which reached 100 km/h at times, also caused damage.

Manitoba Hydro on Wednesday said it is dealing with widespread power outages in western Manitoba from the Parkland area to the Saskatchewan and U.S. borders.

Some 4,000 customers in the Brandon area are still in the dark and scattered outages persist in areas like Virden and Killarney.

'Emotional roller coaster'

The strength of the storm, at times, worried municipal officials in the RMs of Albert and Pipestone. 

"I was fearful at the time because it was coming so hard and the wind was so strong and I knew we were in trouble and I guess we hoped at that time [that] we weren't caught in something that was like a tornado wind," said Pipestone Reeve Ross Tycoles.

"It's kind of been an emotional roller-coaster."

Albert area Coun. Gavin Mackenzie said he couldn't believe what he saw when the storm started.

"A very strange, strange funnel, sideways funnel cloud. It was very eerie and the rain come down so hard and it was almost like in a circular motion," he said.

"I've never, never seen rain like that in my life."

Mackenzie had to sandbag his house for the first time ever Tuesday night as the water came up around his property.

"The water was coming so high it flooded my wells last night, so it contaminated my ground, my well water for my home," he said.