Sask. flooding will get 'ugly,' officials warn

People with homes and cottages along the lakes around Fort Qu'Appelle, east of Regina, are anticipating a surge of water to hit the area and cause a lot of damage.

People with homes and cottages along the lakes around Fort Qu'Appelle, Sask., east of Regina, are anticipating a surge of water to hit the area and cause a lot of damage.

"It'll be ugly and it won't be fun," Fred Weekly, the mayor of the District of Katepwa, a resort area on the lake of the same name, told CBC News Saturday.

"In some places it's going to do a lot of damage," he said.

Water from the Qu'Appelle River system is expected to raise lake levels by as much as two metres, officials from the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority say.

"The river is flowing fully," Weekly said. "Now we wait.

"We're headed for crisis," he added. "We're pretty sure one is coming. We know it will get worse, we just don't know how much worse."

"The most extreme case right now would be from Lumsden, downstream through all those lakes and all the property owners along the lakes," John Fahlman, a spokesman for the Watershed Authority, told CBC News Saturday.

The affected areas include Last Mountain Lake, Echo, Mission, Pasqua, Katepwa, Crooked and Round Lakes.

Lumsden also a concern

Residents in Lumsden, which is northwest of Regina, were also watching the Qu'Appelle River with trepidation.

As of Saturday, water was just 10 centimetres away from overtopping the southbound lanes of Highway 11, which runs by the community.

"There's a good chance that the river will go over the highway at some point in the next couple of days," Fahlman said. "If it does go over we don't expect it to be really deep water."

A recent dump of snow in the area was not expected to have much of an impact on flood predictions, he added.

People in Swift Current and Moose Jaw could relax, Fahlman said, as the threat of flooding for those communities had eased.

"It's safe to say that Swift Current Creek and the Swift Current area is officially into recession and we don't expect anymore issues," he said.

Rising waters in Moose Jaw had also peaked, without causing any damage.

"The city is prepared to advise citizens that the danger of further flooding appears to be over, for the time being," Glenn Hagel, the mayor of Moose Jaw, said in a news release Saturday.

Highways affected

Doug Wakabayashi, a spokesman for the Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure, told CBC News Saturday that 45 segments of provincial highways were being affected by flooding.

The problems range from water creeping up to the shoulder of the road, to complete flooding of some areas.

Currently 20 roads have closed areas and detours.

Wakabayashi said the province was keeping a close watch on Highway 11, by Lumsden, which is a major link between Saskatoon and Regina.

"We will try to keep traffic going over the [Lumsden] bridge as long as we can," he said Saturday.

"As the water rises, if we have to, we will close down one of the bridge structures and operate it as a two-lane section of highway. If water becomes too high for that we will institute a detour and begin by detouring light traffic and keeping truck traffic on Highway 11 as long as we possibly can," he said.