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Heavy rain triggers flooding, states of local emergencies in Lac La Biche, Thorhild counties

Click to play video 'Heavy rain triggers flooding near Lac La Biche' Heavy rain triggers flooding near Lac La Biche
Parts of Lac La Biche County are still dealing with some overland flooding after heavy rainfall this past weekend. Lisa MacGregor has the details – Jun 8, 2020

At least 70 people were ordered to leave their homes in a northern Alberta hamlet Sunday night after heavy rainfall led to flooding in the region.

County Mayor Omer Moghrabi issued a mandatory evacuation order for parts of Lac La Biche, about 220 kilometres northeast of Edmonton. The county also declared a state of local emergency.

“For the past four or five days, we’ve been receiving a lot of rain — the most I’ve seen in my lifetime and I’ve been here a long time,” Moghrabi said in an interview Monday.

The critical emergency alert issued Sunday, and later dropped Monday, said there was potential for train tracks to wash out, which would send more than a metre of water rushing into the area.

READ MORE: Part of Lac La Biche County evacuated because of flooding

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Moghrabi said Monday the water had breached the railway tracks and flooded some basements.

“It’s a lot of water,” he said. “No loss of life, but there will be some infrastructure damage.”

Alberta Transportation closed some highways in Lac La Biche County to non-essential travel. Alberta Parks posted a video to Twitter Monday morning, showing high floodwaters on roads in the area, however it was later deleted and replaced with the tweet below.

Moghrabi said large pumps were set up to drain the area into a nearby lake.

Some water also got into the water treatment plant, but the mayor said the quality of drinking water was still good. The waste-water treatment plant was operating at full capacity as officials didn’t want to see sewer backups, he said.

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READ MORE: Alberta Beach residents get some needed support following area flooding

Moghrabi said about 70 evacuees registered at the Bold Centre, a recreational facility in the hamlet, before they were put up in hotels. Evacuees were initially asked to pack for at least 48 hours.

“We’re thinking — I hate to say it — three or four days,” he said. “It’ll quickly go down as long as it doesn’t rain.

“We’re quite ready for most of it, but you can’t beat nature.”

Flooding in Lac La Biche County on Monday, June 8, 2020.
Flooding in Lac La Biche County on Monday, June 8, 2020. Courtesy: Dave Bliss
Flooding in Lac La Biche County on Monday, June 8, 2020.
Flooding in Lac La Biche County on Monday, June 8, 2020. Courtesy: Dave Bliss
Flooding in Lac La Biche County on Monday, June 8, 2020.
Flooding in Lac La Biche County on Monday, June 8, 2020. Courtesy: Dave Bliss
A sinkhole caused by flooding in Lac La Biche County on Monday, June 8, 2020.
A sinkhole caused by flooding in Lac La Biche County on Monday, June 8, 2020. Courtesy: Dave Bliss
A sinkhole caused by flooding in Lac La Biche County on Monday, June 8, 2020.
A sinkhole caused by flooding in Lac La Biche County on Monday, June 8, 2020. Courtesy: Dave Bliss

Meanwhile in the adjacent Thorhild County, a state of local emergency was also declared due to overland flooding on Monday morning.

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An Alberta Emergency Alert said there was overland flooding in the southern parts of county, from Range Road 233 east to Range Road 195, and from Highway 18 south to Township Road 580.

Lift stations were reaching critical levels on Sunday night and the alert said there was a possibility of washouts for a number of roads in the county area.

As of 2 p.m. Monday, all the emergency alerts had been dropped.

Flooding in Thorhild County, Alta. on Monday, June 8, 2020.
Flooding in Thorhild County, Alta. on Monday, June 8, 2020. Courtesy: Bob Andrusiw
Flooding in Thorhild County, Alta. on Monday, June 8, 2020.
Flooding in Thorhild County, Alta. on Monday, June 8, 2020. Courtesy: Bob Andrusiw
Flooding in Thorhild County, Alta. on Monday, June 8, 2020.
Flooding in Thorhild County, Alta. on Monday, June 8, 2020. Courtesy: Bob Andrusiw

— With files from Karen Bartko, Global News

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