Returning Yellowhead County residents urged to have damaged homes inspected

As waters recede in west-central Alberta, Yellowhead County warned residents Tuesday not to return to homes damaged by flooding before an inspection.

Dozens of residences damaged, county official says

A portion of this Yellowhead County road collapsed this week because of flooding. (Submitted by Jennifer Mills)

As a state of emergency continues, Yellowhead County urged residents Tuesday not to return to homes damaged by flooding before getting an inspection.

One day after the west-central Alberta county declared a local state of emergency, officials warned damaged homes could be unsafe due to electrical problems, contaminated water wells or sewer damage.

Residents in need of inspections or those who notice problems with road safety are asked to call 1-833-334-4630.

According to the alert, dangerous driving conditions have been reported on several roads, including:

  •  Township Rd. 532 west of Range Rd. 125;
  • Old Carrot Creek Highway between Range Rd. 140 and Range Rd. 141;
  • Range Rd. 135 North of Township Rd. 540 — no vehicle exit for residents;
  • Niton North Road south of Township Rd. 542; 
  • Niton North Road south of the railway crossing; 
  • Township Rd. 542 west of Niton North Road — no vehicle exit for residents; 
  • Range Rd. 135 south of Township Rd. 534. 

Photos posted on social media by residents showed a range of damage, from a large crater in one road and submerged roads and fields to structures partially underwater.

"We're also surveying some bridges that we're not sure if the integrity of those structures is where it needs to be at," county spokesperson Dan Ivanov said in an interview.

"What we saw in aerial photos is there are dozens of properties ... that have been affected, and property damage is ranging from actual damage to homes and houses to farmland. Beyond that, there is some infrastructure damage."
A local state of emergency was declared Monday in Yellowhead County due to flooding. (Yellowhead County/Facebook)

He said officials expect water levels to continue to recede, barring more rain.

On Monday, heavy rainfall prompted the county to declare a "local state of emergency" due to flooding. About 25 homes were affected by flooding.

An Alberta Emergency Alert was issued at 3:55 p.m. in the Niton Junction and Carrot Creek area as emergency responders checked on residents.

"We were able to get fire crews and our peace officers in, just to go in and speak to the people, make sure they were OK and see if they needed anything," Bahri said. "And most of them chose to shelter in place."

There was no formal evacuation notice, but some residents left their homes to stay with family and friends. The county set up cots and offered amenities at a local multiplex.

The flooding came as no surprise after three weeks of rain caused elevated streams to spill their banks, Bahri said.

"We were ready for it," he said.

Residents can check the county Facebook page for up-to-date information. Officials plan to post more information there about claims for personal property damage and potential provincial assistance.