TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
Water inundates the community of Reston, Manitoba, flooding homes on the west side of the community as seen from the air on Wednesday.
RESTON — At least two homes could be total losses, a health-care centre has been evacuated and dozens are displaced in Reston, the community devastated by yet another ferocious rainstorm.
Six-year-old Aiden Sanderson eats an apple while walking through the flood water on Second Street in the community of Reston on Wednesday. Several families whose homes were flooded over the weekend were in the midst of cleaning up when Tuesday evenings storm caused flooding again. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
A young man drives a quad along a flooded street in the community of Reston while helping in the flood relief efforts on Wednesday. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
Daveena Zorn, Natasha Morrison and Garrett Adcock walk along a flooded street in the community of Reston after Adcock's vehicle stalled on a flooded road outside of town on Wednesday. The trio were headed home from Zorn's grad which was the previous day and had to walk to Reston when their vehicle became flooded. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
A grid road in the RM of Albert is marked closed on Wednesday after flood waters washed away a portion of the road and the underlying culverts. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
The area received 104 millimetres of rain on Tuesday evening, just four days after the community in the RM of Pipestone saw a flash flood ravage buildings and roads.
Now it’s back to square one.
Flood-soaked carpeting, appliances and couches that fell victim to the first flood floated down the streets.
Tuesday night’s storm in the RM — which was already in a declared state of emergency — brought even more destruction than the first. Trees were struck by lightning, heavy winds knocked out power, and even more homes and roads were in the path of overland flooding.
Reeve Ross Tycoles said the weather was so severe, crews were seeking shelter in basements during the storm.
Portions of Highway 2 west of Reston succumbed to a six-foot wall of water, as were other secondary roads, increasing the RM’s resolve to divert traffic away from the area. At least one vehicle on Highway 83 was swept off the road by tides crossing the road.
Reston Health Centre has evacuated its 28 residents to health facilities throughout Prairie Mountain Health region for precautionary measures and staffing concerns, since employees cannot get to work.
Within the RM of Pipestone, about 75 homes have been affected, many of which are farm homes with water lapping right up to the siding.
As the RM tries to keep its head above water, Reeve Ross Tycoles said he expects to have contact with Premier Greg Selinger about relief funding after the two first spoke at the beginning of the week.
"The community is strong, I still see a lot of humour, people taking it as it is," Tycoles said, but said the community’s sunny mood could quickly turn when talks with the Emergency Measures Organization starts.
"It could have been a lot worse. That storm had some bad feeling in it."
Despite the downpours, Reston School’s Grade 12 class still celebrated graduation last night at the school, with a party in the neighbouring community of Pipestone.
Wednesday morning on his back from Pipestone, graduate Garrett Adock had to leave behind his car on the highway and walk 20 minutes back into town.
"We couldn’t open our doors," he said ." (The water) was waist deep, we had to climb out our windows."
Reston School has cancelled the year’s remaining school days.
As the last of the water was gurgling down his mother-in-law’s basement drain on Wednesday morning after the latest bout of rain, Brian Barker said the pressure from the saturated land around the house sprang leaks in the foundation.
"There was water shooting out of the cinder blocks," he said. "It was literally coming out of the walls."
While the EMO won’t pay out sewage backup, it will cover overland flooding, but Barker argues Reston’s situation is in a grey area.
"My big issue is the sewer wouldn’t back up if there wasn’t overland flooding," he said.
Tuesday night’s storm hit other Westman communities, including Virden, where the town is still adding up the damage after it was caught off guard by more than 55 millimetres of rain, leaving as much as three feet of floodwaters creating a lake over dozens of yards, according to Mayor Jeff McConnell.
Overland floods were coupled with a three-foot rise in the Scallion Creek during the height of the storm.
"The creek was already flowing at near capacity," he said, and the town’s lift stations "were nowhere near going to match the event we had."
As of Wednesday morning, much of the overland flooding had receded, which left homeowners in at least three areas of the town to clean up destroyed basements.
"The council declared a resolution requesting disaster financial assistance," he said. "It is a disaster, it really is, we have homes affected in pretty much every corner of town."
McConnell is urging anyone in Virden who has been affected to reach the town office in order to tally up the damage as quick as possible for EMO wheels to start turning.
Toward the Saskatchewan border, the RM of Albert was also in the storm’s destructive path, with at least 10 homes "in jeopardy," according to Darwin Gray, the RM’s foreman.
Creeks swelled to huge white-capped rivers, blasting through culverts and roads. In one area, floodwaters tore through a ten-foot portion of road, taking a two nine-foot culverts along for the ride.
"In the low-lying areas where the creeks are," he said as he scrambled to put up warning signs throughout the area. "It’s just cropping up in places where it shouldn’t be.
"It’s right across the whole RM."
This week’s flooding in the RM of Albert — which also remains in a state of emergency — is the worst in memory, and Gray said its devastation is made worse by the fact they are still waiting on cheques from the province for 2011’s disaster.
Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation’s Hydrologic Forecast Centre continued overland flood warnings as of yesterday evening and high water advisories for the northwest, Interlake and southwest regions of Manitoba including Reston.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 27, 2013