Power to Mud Lake cut off, as Labrador community evacuated due to flooding
Evacuees flown in to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, taken to arena for registration
People in Mud Lake are being air lifted out early Wednesday morning, as the community is under evacuation due to flooding from the Churchill River.
Military helicopters were on the scene to transport people out of the community to nearby Happy Valley-Goose Bay, and boats are also picking up people in cabins along the Mud Lake Road to bring them to safety.
Other people were waiting on higher elevation to be airlifted out.
Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro said it would be cutting off power to the community at 1 p.m. AT, as flooding of electrical equipment has been posing a safety risk. The outage will affect all customers on Mud Lake Road in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, and should be restored by 2 p.m. AT.
Evacuees are being taken to the Happy Valley-Goose Bay airport for buses to take them to the arena, where Red Cross representatives say they can register for assistance.
According to Joint Task Force Atlantic, 32 people and 16 pets had been evacuated from Mud Lake by noon Wednesday. Service NL Minister Perry Trimper said that 11 remained in the community at that time.
The view over Mud Lake. Many homes flooded. Community was evacuated by helicopter this morning <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cbcnl?src=hash">#cbcnl</a> <a href="https://t.co/gNoLxvlNhC">pic.twitter.com/gNoLxvlNhC</a>—@baileywhite
For Sarah Rumbolt, it was hard to leave her new home behind, as well as three sets of dog sled teams, but there was no way to get all the animals out.
"Very stressed knowing that everything you owned and everything you worked for is gone, nothing you can do," she said.
The dogs have been moved to the highest elevated area and should be safe for at least a day, as long as the water levels don't get too high.
But Rumbolt, who's originally from Nova Scotia, said this is a first for her, and she's not sure what she and her family will do.
"I have no clue. We just built a brand new house and all that, so it's gone — we don't know, start from scratch? Who knows."
Going door to door
Trimper said the decision to evacuate was made around 4:30 a.m. and helicopters were deployed as soon as it was light enough to fly.
The roughly 50 residents in the community, as well as their pets, are being flown out.
Ground search and rescue crews are also going house to house in Mud Lake to ensure no one is left behind, Trimper said.
Provincial officials with Fire and Emergency Services will be on site later to come up with a timeline for how long people will be out of their homes.
Resident Melissa Best said this is the highest she's ever seen the water levels, and it's the first time she's had to be evacuated from her home.
"The water levels are extremely high and we have to get out of here," she told CBC's Labrador Morning.
"There are houses now that are under water. Not to the roof, but I can walk out now into water … it must be like an eight foot, nine foot rise in the water."
More flooding on the Happy Valley-Goose Bay side. Cabins and cars on Mud Lake Road submerged <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cbcnl?src=hash">#cbcnl</a> <a href="https://t.co/d5FhoEn8qN">pic.twitter.com/d5FhoEn8qN</a>—@baileywhite
Water levels had been rising steadily all night, she said, and people had to leave for higher ground while their homes were flooding.
"It is dangerous, yes," she said. "We have people that have their home ruined, new homes ruined, old homes ruined. It's quite scary."
The unusually high water levels are caused by ice jamming at the mouth of the Churchill River where it flows into Lake Melville.
In nearby Happy Valley-Goose Bay, property owners were laying down loads of sand to try to protect their properties from ice and water.
With files from Jacob Barker