Radisson, Maidstone, Borden declare emergencies over flooding

The Saskatchewan communities of Radisson, Maidstone, and Borden have declared states of emergency as residents work to cope with flooding.
Crews in Radisson, Sask., work to protect key parts of town from flooding. (Courtesy Chris Tyreman)
Maidstone, Sask., declared an emergency Monday due to flooding. (CBC )

The Saskatchewan communities of Radisson, Maidstone and Borden have declared states of emergency as residents work to cope with flooding.

In Radisson, officials said Monday they can't prevent the west side of town from flooding. However, they have been working to keep floodwaters away from Main Street.

David Summers, a town councillor, said the community expects to be under a flood-watch for about a week.

They are watching closely what happens in nearby Speers.

"Reports from Speers, where the melting comes from [or] most of it, they haven't even started melting hardly," Summers said. "So that's about six feet of snow out there."

People in Radisson have been setting out sandbags for several days.

"There's a lot of water coming, there's more to come, but we went into a state of emergency because we're going to have homes flooded if we don't, so we're trying to prevent that," Summers said. "Some homes may still flood and we have some people on evacuation standby."

Summers said 10 to 15 homes, possibly more, and a seniors' villa might have to be evacuated depending on how the water rises.

"Our priorities have been at our senior citizens villa," Summers added. "There are about 10 to 15 people that live there.  It's a seniors' complex and they are in danger of flooding."

Almost everyone in town is helping out, including high school students and volunteers from the Mormon Church.

Radisson is about 65 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon.

Parts of Maidstone inundated

Earlier on Monday, Maidstone declared a state of emergency as water has been running over the Yellowhead Highway there for the last couple of days.

Maidstone is about 220 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon.

Connie McCulloch said about 24 homes have been damaged by flooding.

Melting snow in nearby fields poured into the town on the weekend and town crews and volunteers have been building drainage ditches and berms.

"A few people have had to evacuate their home because of the flood water that they've received," she said. "But overall most people are able to still be in their homes and [have] been pumping water out of their basement and stuff."

McCulloch said they have been doing everything they can, to keep water away and move it out of the community.

"We have used all kinds of water cannons, pumps and drainage ditches and berms and everything we can possibly do to try to move the water out of town," she said.

Provincial officials said the Maidstone flooding was likely related to snow melt.

"That's just a result of local run-off in that particular area," Duane McKay, Saskatchewan's commissioner of emergency management said. "We've moved some equipment there to help them mitigate the damage and perhaps assist in re-routing some of the water around the community."

Borden also experiencing flooding

Also on Monday, the village of Borden, Sask., declared a state of emergency at 1 p.m.

Local officials said melt water is moving rapidly and is rising up on one side of the highway through town.

The volume of water was too much for culverts to divert and people have been putting down sandbags all day.

Borden is about 50 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon.

Flooding expected in many parts of province

The three communities are in an area that Saskatchewan's Water Security Agency had warned would likely see flooding due to very high spring run-off.

The agency has said the entire southern half of Saskatchewan will see water run-off levels above or well above normal.

The water is just beginning to flow in many areas because the snow melt has been delayed by colder-than-normal temperatures.

Patrick Boyle, with the Water Security Agency, said said cooler weather forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday could slow down the melt ahead of an anticipated big warm-up next weekend.

"In those areas where the run-off has started, it will allow flows to pass somewhat before any of the further snow melt happens, so that's going to help alleviate the peaks," said Boyle. "Essentially what it's doing is helping what we've had melt right now move through the system."

With files from The Canadian Press