Winnipeg homeowners grapple with damaged homes, ruined basements amid flooding from spring storm
The city says staff are working around the clock to help people deal with flooding
A spring storm, which brought up to 60 millimetres of rain and snow, has flooded and damaged the homes of many Winnipeggers — leaving some wondering what they should do next.
Amber Anderson returned from work early Saturday evening to see her entire street flooded in St. Boniface.
"My neighbours were trying to move their vehicles and at that point it was already like… up to the doors," she said in an interview with CBC News.
"It was just so much rain that it was just backing up onto the sidewalks and cars."
Anderson says she saw around 0.6 metres (two feet) of water pooling outside her house and immediately started bailing and scooping out water.
"The water was coming on so fast and just running off the sides of the house, like I was standing underneath, literally like a shower faucet," she said.
Anderson says she was afraid to go into the basement, but when she did — everything was soaked and destroyed, including sentimental items belonging to her daughter.
It wasn't what she wanted to see after a 12-hour shift at the hospital.
"It's very disheartening. It sucks," she said. "A long shift in an ICU setting and you've given all you can to everyone else at work and you come home and you're all alone and having to deal with all that alone."
Anderson lives by herself and asked her father to drive from Petersfield, Man. to help, but he left Saturday night to deal with flooding in his own garage, she said.
"I've been literally up for most of the night and continually just trying to sop it all up," said Anderson.
City offering sandbags
Anderson says the city needs to be more proactive when it comes to preventing flooding by hiring more employees to plow and move winter snow.
"They can't have banks in front of our house that were as tall as myself sitting there for it to flood into our properties come spring when it melts," she said.
In an email statement, the city says sandbags are available 24 hours per day to residents who are experiencing flooding and they can be picked up at three locations: 1220 Pacific Ave., 1090 Thomas Ave. and 1539 Waverley St.
Anderson says she tried to get sandbags, but when she arrived at the Thomas and Waverley locations, the bags were ripped open and shredded.
At the Thomas location on Sunday afternoon, David Locke managed to snag a few for his property.
Locke said his backyard is flooded with about six inches of water up the foundation, which hasn't happened since 1997.
"It is what it is," he said. "What can you do?"
"Just trying to soak up the water that's inside and just hopefully will stop soon," said Locke.
Support through community groups
Anderson says she's been finding support through community groups online to help her through the stressful time.
"We have, as a community, come together to create these groups because there's lack of governmental support in general," she said.
Anderson says she has seen neighbours offer their trucks to help get sandbags for others.
"Those are the people that we go to when we need help, because we know that the city and no other person is going to come and help us," Anderson said.
The city said in a news release that Winnipeg crews are working hard around the clock to clear ditches, catch basins and culverts so water can drain more effectively.
At Kildonan Park, residents are asked to avoid the duck pond and all areas with open water and be careful near creeks and bridges because of flooding from Lord Selkirk Creek, the release says.
Drivers who encounter standing water on roadways should report it through 311, even though its call centre is experiencing longer wait times.
- A previous version of this story stated Anderson saw 0.6 metres of water inside her house. In fact, the water was outside her house.May 16, 2022 1:16 PM CT