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Two Yorkton residents filled up an inflatable boat with clothes from their home and then headed for higher ground. (Dani Mario/CBC) ((Dani Mario/CBC))

Rescuers used canoes and front-end loaders following heavy rain and widespread street flooding Thursday night in Yorkton, Sask.

About 100 families were forced from their homes when water poured into their basements. More left their houses Friday morning and sought shelter.

Mayor James Wilson said a state of local emergency has been declared, adding that there has never been flooding to this extent before in the city of 15,000 people about 190 kilometres northeast of Regina.

The storm sewer system was overwhelmed and many streets were under water, including sections of Broadway Street in the heart of the city. Power was turned off in sections of Yorkton.

CBC Saskatchewan weather consultant Wayne Miskolczi said that according to Environment Canada 64 millimetres fell before midnight, and further heavy rain was recorded early Friday.

"I'm sure there are spots in Yorkton that have had well over 100 millimetres," he said.

Wilson said he's been told that some areas received 100 to 150 millimetres of rain in half an hour.  An estimated 60 to 70 per cent of homes took in water, he said, and many businesses were flooded.

Yorkton has had floods before, but not like this, Wilson said. "Nothing to this extent." He said some people had to be carried away in front-end loaders.

The mayor added that Premier Brad Wall called him and assured him there will be quick provincial relief for people in need.

An emergency evacuation centre was set up at the Gallagher Centre, the city's main recreational centre and fairground. People making their way there were told to stick to higher routes. Some flooded-out residents were seeking refuge in hotels as far away as Regina.

"They were evacuating people in canoes," said Michael Paslofski, a spokesman with the Canadian Red Cross in Yorkton. "If this rain comes again, we're going to be in big trouble."

A CBC reporter said one couple paddled a canoe to their home Friday morning to pick up some clothing.

Additional room at the evacuation centre has been set aside in anticipation that there may be more problems later Friday. More thunderstorms were in the forecast.

Record-setting amounts of rain have been dumped on Saskatchewan in recent weeks. In Saskatoon, city council passed an emergency resolution Friday morning asking the province for disaster relief following flooding earlier in the week.

The town of Maple Creek in the southwest part of the province declared itself a disaster zone last month after more than 100 millimetres of rain fell in 48 hours.

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