Deluge forces Manitoba community to declare state of emergency

Reston was flooded a first time by June 21 rainfall. Kennedy Watt

WINNIPEG – A small Manitoba community has declared a state of emergency and evacuated homes after a deluge of rain.

Reston, Man., located in the RM of Pipestone approximately 100 kilometres southwest of Brandon, received heavy rainfall amounts in a two-hour span late Friday and early Saturday.

Four homes housing 11 people in the community of roughly 600 have been evacuated. Half to two-thirds of the community had ground water or sewer systems that backed up. Some of the areas are also affected by overland flooding, according to the RM.

Reeve Ross Tycoles said there’s approximately two to three feet of water standing on some of the main streets. On the west side of town, a golf course is now a large water hazard. A set of train tracks that runs east-west through the community is acting as a dam of sorts, preventing north water from running south. There are concerns the tracks won’t hold much longer.

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“A dam has formed there where only so much water can go through the culverts and the tracks and this is where the issue is. The water is being held up on one side and we’re worried about releasing it to the other side,” explained Tycoles. “If it does let go, we’re going to have some issues on the other side.”

There are conflicting reports of exactly how much precipitation the community received. Tycoles told Global News that backyard weather gauges have measurements of approximately six inches of rain.

“We got about six inches of rain in a two-hour span so it was one good hard rain and then some rain after again four hours later, so it created quite a mess here,” said Tycoles.

There are other unconfirmed reports of 77 millimetres of rain. Environment Canada said radar indicated accumulations of 100 millimetres hovering above that area when the system hit.

“Reston defintely got the highest of everyone there,” said Jason Knight, meteorologist with Environment Canada.

The RM believes it is fortunate to be near the oilfields, giving it access to equipment, particularly water trucks, that have the ability to move water quickly. For now, Tycoles said the community is handling it well, but that could change if mother nature brings more rain, which is in the forecast for Sunday.

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“Right now we’re trying to get our systems caught up and move the water around town so if more rain comes we’re at least ahead of the game,” he said. “We’d be in a big mess if we got three inches of rain.”

Tycoles said there’s no indication of when the state of emergency will be lifted or when those evacuated will be allowed home.


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