Residents still reeling from Westman flood of 2020

Parts of southern Manitoba has raised concerns about the potential for flooding in the spring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Cassandra Lepp remembers the three weeks after the catastrophic rainfall in June of 2020 vividly.

Her family owns an aerial spray business in Rivers, Man., that treats farmer’s fields during fungicide season.

When conditions are wet, the risk of disease for plants is much higher, and nearly 100 mm of rain had just dropped.

“It’s like hardcore pit crew life for 20 hours a day,” Lepp laughed.

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After the initial rainfall, Lepp said it was “insanity.” She and her family were at the airport from 4 a.m. until 11 p.m. every day and needed to hire friends due to the number of calls.

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When they weren’t spraying fields, they were rescuing campers from Chimo Resort, which was completely underwater, and rallying boats that had floated away.

While Lepp’s home had made it out of the storm unscathed, her family’s farm didn’t have such a fortunate fate.

“Cereals, barley and wheat seemed to handle it better, our canola had standing water in it for way too long and we lost a lot of yield there and as well with our soy beans, they didn’t handle it well at all,” Lepp said.

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As for other residents, Lepp said some are still rebuilding or repairing. For example, her neighbours are still renovating their basement.

“There was one house in particular that was fully underwater,” she said.

It’s a storm that will remain on the minds of many for years to come. Despite how destructive the storm was, Lepp called it “beautiful.”

“It was wild,” she said. “I think we’ll always talk about it.”

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