Barricades were moved away, streets swept and pumped, and wet debris thrown out Monday, after areas of Fort McMurray saw 85 mm of rain in just two hours Sunday morning.
Severe storms and heavy rain caused localized flooding in low-lying neighbourhoods throughout downtown, Gregoire and Thickwood.
“We woke up 9 o’clock in the morning,” Kenny Payne said. “We saw about a foot of water in the basement,” added Kayla Payne. “I woke up as soon as I put my feet on the floor – it was all water.”
“It goes from a fire, which we survived, to rain, which we didn’t survive,” Kayla said, referring to the damage in their home. Cars and homes suffered flood damage Sunday. The Paynes’ Gregoire home filled with two feet of water and their sump pump just couldn’t keep up. Still, they’re trying to stay positive.
“It’s just things. Money will buy it back,” Kenny said.
Almost exactly three months ago, upwards of 80,000 people were forced to leave Fort McMurray when a wildfire aggressively turned on the city. The blaze destroyed thousands of buildings.
“You know what’s heart wrenching about it? The residents just cleaned up after the wildfires, get their homes back in order, and now we have some basements that are flooded,” Wood Buffalo Councillor Keith McGrath said.
The flooding forced the municipality to reactivate the Emergency Operations Centre, but nobody was hurt.
“Make sure you hug your family because that’s all you have at the end of the day,” McGrath said. “Bikes and boats and cars, you can replace them. You can’t replace your family members and you can’t replace your friends.”
Teams with the Regional Muncipality of Wood Buffalo were on the ground Sunday and Monday, evaluating underground service infrastructure and public works. They took down several barricades, swept streets and pumped up pooled water. The city said the crews would continue to monitor the road systems.
Residents are asked to dispose of large water-damaged items in garbage bins in Ross Haven (Thicket Dr. and Robin Cres.) before Monday, Aug. 8.
“I’m afraid that we might have some more rain today, but we’re ready,” McGrath said Sunday. “The municipal employees are on the front lines and we’re ready for whatever it throws our way.”
City staff will be in the Ross Haven neighbourhood, handing out information pamphlets and addressing concerns of any homeowner who may have experienced “sanitary sewer flooding.”
WATCH: Fort McMurray authorities scramble to keep drinking water safe
“With many residents away for the long weekend, we encourage residents who live in an area that experienced localized flooding to connect in the next week with their neighbours to see if they can help them out,” Chris Graham, deputy director of Emergency Management, said.
“It’s important that our community continues to be resilient and work together following yesterday’s rainfall.”
Anyone with flooding in or around their property is asked to contact the PULSE line at 780-743-7000. The Regional Emergency Operations Centre and Underground Services will review each situation to see who might best be able to assist, the municipality said.
Residents who experienced basement flooding should also contact their insurance provider or the Insurance Bureau of Canada. The Insurance Bureau of Canada can be reached at 1-844-2ask-IBC.
Watch below: A few months ago, they were praying for rain to help put out the wildfire. This weekend, Fort McMurray got rain, but when it rained, but poured. Sarah Kraus explains.