Sask. flood barrier broken by wind
Community exhausted by water fight
Strong prairie winds have pushed water through a section of sandbag berms that were protecting homes and cabins on Katepwa Lake, east of Regina.
Wind gusts that reached 60 kilometres an hour on Friday night whipped up the water on the lake, which has been rising precipitously for the past week.
"The waves just kept coming in and took down the wall and all the hard work that everybody put in for the last two weeks," Don Ferguson, a local cabin owner, told CBC News on Saturday. "It's unbelievable."
Local officials said 37 properties flooded. Of those, 11 were permanent homes. A voluntary evacuation was in place for the flooded area.
Ferguson said that at one point, lake water was pouring down onto people working on the dry side of the berm.
"There's three or four of us along here that have all got it inside the cottages. I've never seen it like this."
One neighbour is on high ground and is dry, but some shingles on the house were blown off in the strong wind.
The community had constructed a sandbag barrier of some 2,000 metres along the lakeshore that stood about 1.5 metres high in some sections.
"After we completed that," Bobbee said, "we then had to use our volunteers and go back for that same amount and lift those berms up."
Bobbee said that even with the additional height, the wind pushed the lake water over the top.
About 60 metres of the berm washed away around 9 p.m. CT.
"We lost one that we couldn't fix," Bobbee said, noting that community members were working throughout the day Friday to shore up the berms in anticipation of the heavy winds.
Power has been cut off to the affected buildings.
In addition to the wave action, the lake level has also been rising. The water was up by about 2.5 centimetres on Friday and was expected to rise another 7.5 centimetres in the days ahead.
Bobbee said if the wind does not decrease or change direction, there could be more flooding.
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