What started out as a beautiful day in Swift Current ended in flooding after a major downpour hit the Saskatchewan community on Tuesday afternoon.
Swift Current Mayor Denis Perrault said at around 4 p.m. the sky turned black and unleashed a heavy downpour, producing what he’s heard reported as between five to eight centimetres of rain mixed with hail.
He said the “heavy, heavy, heavy” rainfall lasted about about 90 minutes and resulted in some of the city’s sewer systems being overwhelmed.
“Obviously our storm sewers, and really no storm sewers, are able to take that much rain or that much water in that short period,” he said. “So we definitely did have some backed-up lines, predominantly in our downtown.”
He said in some cases, water from the rain was going over the hood of cars. He said some basements were flooded but he didn’t have number available.
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He said remediation companies are already out and about trying to help those who were affected by the rainfall.
“They’ve been husting,” he said.
Jade Lange, a civilian employee at the Swift Current RCMP detachment said the rain “came down really hard, really fast.”
“The wind picked up and was whipping around quite a bit,” she said. “There was maybe pea sized hail for a couple seconds and the water just kept coming down really hard.”
From her view, she said water was starting to come over the sidewalk.
“I would imagine there were quite a few places in town that were under water,” she said.
Infrastructure teams, police, fire and paramedics are working extra hours to ensure everyone is safe and at around 10 p.m., Perrault said there was a break in the weather.
“Public safety is obviously priority one and I’m very grateful for those priority teams who were out and about very early making sure everyone was safe. That’s the key.”
He said he was “overwhelmed” by the amount of support community members from Swift Current and the surrounding areas offered each other during the downpour.
“Seeing everybody rally together and truly helping their neighbour is just so refreshing,” he said.
He said many people are already working to ensure damage from the flooding is as minimal as possible, saying he expects clean up to be completed by Wednesday afternoon.
“Remediation is going to take some time, but I’m feeling pretty optimistic going forward,” he said. “I’m hopeful.”