Basements, backyards flooded after thunderstorms soak southern Manitoba

A weather system bringing heavy rain to areas south of Highway 1 and Highway 16 prompted the province of Manitoba to issue an overland flood warning, with between 25 and 150 millimetres of rain anticipated through Tuesday before tapering off overnight.

Severe thunderstorm watches in effect earlier Tuesday have been lifted

Mike Ledarney has water in the basement of his Teulon home after a rainy weekend. He's got the sump pump going and is waiting to see what insurance will cover. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

The rain kept coming down as Mike Ledarney was already pumping water out of his basement in Teulon on Tuesday.

The resident of the Manitoba town, about 60 kilometres north of Winnipeg, said he came home early from work after his sister called to break the news that his basement was flooding.

By the time he got back, his dad had a sump pump running, but there was already about 30 centimetres of water in the basement.

"It's obviously a lot of stress … having to deal with that, and not knowing always in certainty … what's going to happen next," Ledarney said outside his house later in the day.

The province issued an overland flood warning on Monday, saying a weather system was expected to bring anywhere from 25 to 150 millimetres of rain to all areas south of south of Highway 1 and Highway 16 by Wednesday.

Thunderstorms moved into Manitoba on Monday night and were forecast to cross the southern part of the province through the day Tuesday, according to Environment Canada, which issued severe thunderstorm watches for a number of areas. Those watches have since ended.

Around 5 a.m. there was also a tornado warning in the region around St. Jean Baptiste and the rural municipality of Morris, but that has since ended as well.

"It looks like the strongest wind gusts we've received were 117 kilometres per hour in Baldur [southeast of Brandon], so not as severe, but definitely severe," Environment Canada meteorologist Kayla Bilous said Tuesday morning.

"We haven't got any reports of damage so far, but we'll probably hear of some."

Teulon, in Manitoba's Interlake, is well north of the Trans-Canada Highway, but it was still hit hard by the recent storms.

Ledarney said he's experienced basement flooding once before, in 2005. But based on the water levels he saw around town — including streets with water spilling over top where he's never seen water before — he thinks the current situation is worse.

Ledarney's flooded basement in Teulon after the storm. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

And as he waits to find out what his insurance will cover, he said he hopes the rain stops soon so people in his situation can get a handle on their flooding.

"But you know what, you pull up your socks and you have to do what you have to do to get … through it and you move on," he said.

'It just came down in buckets'

While the latest weather system follows an extremely wet spring in Manitoba, Teulon resident Glenn Carroll said he has more overland flooding now than he did then.

At one point Tuesday morning, he said his above-ground pool was overflowing and trees toppled onto his kids' trampoline.

"Not much I can do, right? It's Mother Nature. You can't argue with her. She does what she wants," Carroll said, laughing.

"We had so much snow over the winter and so much rain that all the low areas … around the town are full. And the water's got to go somewhere, so it's going over land."

Teulon Mayor Anna Pazdzierski said the rain has been so heavy that the water in her yard was deep enough for a child to swim in it. 

"It just came down in buckets. Unbelievable. I've lived here for 54 years. I have never seen this kind of water," she said.

The town of Teulon, in Manitoba's Interlake region, has more flooding now than in the spring, says the mayor. (Randall McKenzie/CBC)

Power was out in much of the town throughout the morning, she said, leaving many trying to find gas for their generators to keep their sump pumps running. But two of the community's gas stations were among those without power until electricity was restored around noon.

Pazdzierski said public works crews were out since early Tuesday morning, making sure culverts were clear and checking on the sewer system to avoid backups as much as possible.

"In most of the town, we have more water now than we had in the spring flood. There's water laying everywhere," she said.

Manitobans experienced a spring that brought some of the most severe flooding on record, including the fourth-largest Red River flood ever recorded.

"Unprecedented rains, on top of very saturated soils, resulted in significant and widespread overland flooding across the province," stated a report last month from the Manitoba Hydrologic Forecast Centre.

From April 1 to June 19, much of the Red River basin got over 330 millimetres of rain — more than double the normal amount during that period.

WATCH | Homes flooded after big soak:

Flood damage in Teulon

8 months ago
Duration 2:05
Thunderstorms moved into Manitoba on Monday night and were forecast to cross the southern part of the province through the day Tuesday, according to Environment Canada, which issued severe thunderstorm watches for a number of areas. Those watches have since ended.

With files from Meaghan Ketcheson and Alana Cole


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