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City may request disaster assistance after storms

A man tries to save a vehicle from flood water at the corner of Evergreen Place and Willowdale Crescent in Brandon Tuesday evening.

IAN HITCHEN/BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

A man tries to save a vehicle from flood water at the corner of Evergreen Place and Willowdale Crescent in Brandon Tuesday evening.

City council may ask for disaster financial assistance after a torrential downpour that flooded several streets last night.

According to Environment Canada, some areas of the city saw up to 70 mm of rain. At the official monitoring station, at the Brandon airport, 37 mm of rain fell. The storm also brought strong winds and small hail.

Work crews were out from about 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. to clear the storm sewer system, particularly in the west end and in the southwest corner of Brandon.

"The city’s storm sewer system is designed to handle a certain amount of capacity, however, this storm event simply brought too much water in a very short amount of time, so the system was overwhelmed," said city manager Scott Hildebrand. "We had crews deployed during the entire storm event to ensure that plugged catch basins were addressed and standing pumps were activated to help draw down water levels wherever possible."

He added that the priority now was on fallen trees and ensuring that retention ponds and ditches are pumped down to handle any additional rains that might be coming this week.

A severe thunderstorm watch issued late Wednesday morning means those rains could come as early as today.

Meanwhile, city council will deal with a resolution at its regular meeting on Tuesday, July 2, to officially request that the province deem the June 25 storm eligible for Disaster Financial Assistance.

"Disaster Financial Assistance coverage is never a sure bet," cautioned Mayor Shari Decter Hirst. "We also need residents to take ownership of their properties, and so it is very important that anyone with water in their basements right now make swift contact with their own insurance provider to determine the best course of action."

Decter Hirst also said that people, particularly children, should stay away from areas of standing water until the city can check to see if any manhole covers were compromised.

Residents can help the city by clearing away any debris they notice covering storm sewer grates in their neighbourhood, and tossing that debris into the trash, rather than back into the street.

The city also said that property owners who experienced water damage should check with their insurance providers and should document water damage with photos or video prior to and during clean-up.

The city will not be doing any clean-up of private properties — property owners who need assistance in clean-up will have contact private companies or contractors.

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