By: Justin Seward
Flood waters overtopped the St. Mary’s River Irrigation District’s (SMRID) main canal overnight Monday according to the County of Forty Mile’s director of emergency management Stewart Payne.
SMRID, as a result, evacuated five people from a home west of the Forty Mile Park.
“They were lower today in the main canal,” Payne said Tuesday of the water levels.
“It helps for sure. SMRID is still active in making sure the runoff is going along.”
Payne hopes in the coming days there is more freezing overnight and less moisture during the day so the drains and culverts can catch up.
County crews can expect to be busy until the snow melt is done, he said.
With spring taking awhile to get here, this is later than normal for the county to see accumulated snow still on the ground.
Forty Mile Reeve Steve Wikkerink said the floodings has been a whole new experience for him with receiving a few extra phone calls, while receiving the news from CAO Dale Brown just shy of midnight Saturday.
“Sunday night was kind of our first emergency council meeting that we called,” said Wikkerink.
“And we’re also in with Bill Seymour from Alberta Emergency Management on a conference call (who was) giving us some pointers on how to move forward, to keep the public informed and how to keep our social media up to date.”
There were a number of cases that the county was called to earlier this year that helped with this ongoing issue.
“There were a few cases, we said ‘OK we would allow them to cut the road and we would only take out about foot out of the road surface.’ As far as I know and in the cases, that’s all it took to relieve the pressure from the homes,” said Wikkerink.
“At first that was council’s priority and at all possible we do not want to lose any homes and we don’t want to lose any light over this water and flooding. I believe that was shown by us having to cut some roads open and going to calls as quickly as we can.”
He added that SMRID had contractors come in to remove a majority of the snow and ice with the help of farmers and their four-wheel-drive tractors.
Thirty-nine high hoe excavators were working 24 hours straight according to Wikkerink.
There is no new road closures reported. More information can be found at 40mile.ca.