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Flooding prompts Swift Current, Sask., to apply for provincial assistance for 2nd time this year | CBC News


Swift Current has applied for the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program for the second time this year after a significant weekend storm on the weekend led to flooding in parts of the city. 

The city already applied for the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program in April after a spring melt caused flooding from the Swift Current Creek. The flooding led the city to be under a local state of emergency for more than a week. 

Saturday’s storm system dropped 75 millimeters of rain in about an hour, accompanied by pea-sized hail and strong winds in parts of Swift Current, according to a city news release. Some residents also reported larger, golf ball-sized hail.

Leanne Tuntland-Wiebe, a Swift Current city councillor, said the Saturday storm was unlike any she’s seen before in the southwestern Saskatchewan city. 

“I have never experienced a hail storm that was a complete whiteout in some areas,” Tuntland-Wiebe said on CBC Radio’s The Afternoon Edition

“I have never experienced a hail storm that lasted over half an hour either. Usually it’s short — it does its damage and it moves on, [but] this just kept on and on and on,” she said.

Tuntland-Wiebe said the downpour of rain — and clogged drains due to the hail and the foliage it brought down — led to significant flooding in parts of the city.

“The drains were plugged and it just backed up. It just went wherever it could,” she said. “If it couldn’t go down, it went up. It was over the sidewalks; it was into the stores downtown.”

Flooding damages homes, businesses

Tuntland-Wiebe said the hail wasn’t large enough to cause too much damage itself around the city — but the flooding did. 

“We’ve got restoration services in there trying to dry [our basement out], there’s going to be a lot of residents that have that same issue and then businesses had water flow into their patios and into their front doors and stuff, ” Tuntland-Wiebe said.

“I guess it’s something that people’s personal business insurance doesn’t cover, so again that’s why we applied to the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program.”

Listen | Hail storm impacts Swift Current 

The Afternoon Edition – Sask7:31Hail storm impacts Swift Current

Fields and yards in Swift Current were blanketed with hail over the weekend. Afternoon Edition host, Gath Materie spoke with farmer, Troy Weppler who was right in the middle of it.

The program could help people in Swift Current cover the cost of uninsurable essential losses, cleanup, repairs and temporary relocation. Swift Current must be approved before residents can apply for assistance, then residents will be able to apply online or at city hall. 

1-in-100-year rain event

The City of Swift Current called Saturday’s storm a one-in-100-year rain event.

“To break it down, many people assume a 1:100 rain event means this kind of event happens only once every 100 years, but that’s not the case,” Jim Jones, Swift Current’s chief administrative officer, said in a news release. “It’s a probability ratio. A  1:100-year event has a one per cent chance of happening in any given year.”

Another one-in-100-year rain event in 2019 prompted the City of Swift Current to increase its stormwater management system by spending more than $2.4 million to improve drainage.

The city said the plugging of the roadway gutters during Saturday’s storm couldn’t be prevented because of the accumulation of ice, shredded leaves and branches. 

“We will take another look and see what we can improve,” Tuntland-Wiebe said. “We really thought that we had it beat after all these millions spent.”


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