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Flooding forces people to evacuate from cabins near Inuvik, N.W.T.

Multiple people are evacuating from their cabins near Inuvik, N.W.T., due to flooding.

‘In Inuvik, the water levels are the highest we’ve seen them’

Water floods Diane Koe's cabin outside of Inuvik, N.W.T. Koe and her partner were evacuated by helicopter over the weekend. (Submitted by Connor Gould)

Multiple people are evacuating from their cabins near Inuvik, N.W.T., due to flooding.

"In Inuvik, the water levels are the highest we've seen them," said Dustin Whalen, a physical scientist with Natural Resources Canada.

"Right now, they're pretty much levelled off and I expect that they're going to start dropping really soon."

There is currently no road traffic into Inuvik, located 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle.

Grant Hood, senior administrative officer for the Town of Inuvik, said officials are monitoring the situation. He said the cabins are located outside of the town's boundaries.

"It's an annual occurrence. That's all we can do," he said.

Photos show roads near the Mackenzie River partially flooded and the town's boat launch submerged in water.

An aerial view of Inuvik, N.W.T. on June 1, 2020. A scientist with Natural Resources Canada says the water levels are the highest he has seen in 17 years of recorded data. (Submitted by Connor Gould)

Dianne Koe and her partner were evacuated from their cabin by helicopter Saturday afternoon.

A day later, she was sent photos of her cabin.

"We could see the water coming over the bank," she said. "It was a shock to see."

About a week ago, Koe said she noticed water levels were rising. She said she had been in daily contact with people in other cabins to check on the conditions.

"We had high water but not this high," she said.

Jimmy Kalinek and his family had been at their cabin at the north end of the Kalinek Channel for two and half months, until they had to leave on Saturday.

Jimmy Kalinek, above, and his family evacuated from their cabin outside Inuvik on Saturday. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC)

"Potential of flooding was there, so we were prepared for it," he said. "But it just happened really quick. Within the hour, we were out of the house."

Kalinek later went back to his cabin — about an hour's boat ride from Inuvik — to assess the damage and "hope for the best." 

Water runs around Kalinek's cabin as if it's a houseboat. Though the cabin is typically close to the water's edge, the area behind the cabin is usually just land. (Submitted by Jimmy Kalinek)

He said when he arrived, there was no water damage. 

Data from Water Survey of Canada showed water levels in the Mackenzie River's East Channel reached 16.5 metres by June 1. The previous high was 16.35 metres in 2006, according to Whalen.

A graph of the Mackenzie River's East Channel at Inuvik, N.W.T. shows water levels reaching 16.5 metres on June 1, 2020. It's a record high since record keeping began, according to Dustin Whalen, a physical scientist with Natural Resources Canada. (Water Survey of Canada)

With files from Mackenzie Scott and Wanda McLeod

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