The City of Brandon declared a state of emergency during an urgent city council meeting on Sunday afternoon.
City crews responded to numerous instances of overland flooding, drainage issues and downed tree debris caused by substantial rainfall and high winds over the weekend.
"The infrastructure talks to us and we need to be able to respond," said Rod Sage, general manager of operations for the city. "After 2005, we know what to look for and we are seeing signs that problems could arise very quickly if we get more rain."
Sage spoke to councillors alongside the city’s emergency co-ordinator, Brian Kayes. The two agreed the declaration was a necessary pre-emptive measure.
"By declaring the state of emergency now we will have resources in place if something is to happen," Kayes said.
More than 100 mm of rain fell at the Brandon Municipal Airport between Friday and 11 a.m. Sunday, according to Environment Canada.
An additional 25 mm to 40 mm was anticipated, but the worst of the heavy rain should have passed overnight Sunday.
The main access road to the airport was closed due to overland flooding in the immediate area Sunday. As a result, WestJet flights in and out of Brandon were cancelled.
Passengers affected by Sunday’s flight cancellations are urged to visit westjet.com to determine whether their flight will be rescheduled.
A state of emergency provides a municipality with a number of extra powers to be able to respond to weather disasters.
"This will allow workers to move throughout the city without worrying about trespassing laws," Mayor Shari Decter Hirst said. "We ask citizens to co-operate with city workers to best help them during the next few days."
Five pumps are already working throughout the city to minimize flooding issues. Six more were expected to be in the city sometime this morning.
"These new pumps will be used as needed," Sage said. "Domestic sewer issues will trump overland flooding for pump use because domestic sewer will cause more direct issues for residents."
The state of emergency will be in effect until July 28 unless Brandon’s city council chooses to extend it at a later date.
Residents who have experienced water in their basements are encouraged to check their insurance policies for clarification on coverage. Residents are reminded to document and photograph the details of any damage.
"We encourage residents to use their common sense," Decter Hirst said. "Stay away from high water and in cases of power outages check on neighbours."
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