Canadian city in the Northwest Territories to be evacuated as flooding worsens | Canada

Canadian city in the Northwest Territories to be evacuated as flooding worsens |  Canada

All 4,000 residents of a small town in Canada’s Northwest Territories have been ordered to evacuate as parts of the country grapple with some of the worst flooding in decades.

Chief April Martel of the Kátł’odeeche First Nation ordered her entire community to evacuate the Hay River after breaking ice drove floodwaters into the center of town on Wednesday.

The local infrastructure authority had declared the only road link to the city’s airport impassable and closed.

A chunk of ice broke off Wednesday, sending a new wave that covered downtown Hay River in a foot or more of water within minutes. Some residents reported being rescued from their homes by boats.

The city lies at the mouth of the Hay River, where it empties into Great Slave Lake in a miniature delta with several river channels running through it.

Ice blocking these channels had blocked the water, and a weekend of rain and snow in the river’s basin added more and more water to this system.

Map shows where the floods occurred.

“There was a large amount of ice in the winter, a large amount of snow in the basin, and then this storm came — first as rain, which then poured straight into streams and streams, immediately raising the water level — and parked all over the basin,” he said territorial hydrologist Shawne Kokelj this week.

“What we’re seeing now is that there’s still flood water coming in from further upstream because there’s been a lot of rain that’s happened there too, and now some of the snow is melting and feeding so many of these smaller streams.

Justin Gaudet, of the Paddle Prairie Mtis settlement, which is home to about 800 people, said a local emergency alert was issued on Sunday after rain and snowmelt raised water levels in six nearby rivers to heights community elders last predicted had seen for more than 50 years.

“Some of these houses do not currently have running water,” Gaudet said late Wednesday. “The members are very tired, very stressed, very anxious,” he said.

Gaudet said water levels had dropped, but dampness and contaminated water posed a risk of mold damage, and he said some bridges were also damaged.

“Many of our houses in the hamlet are on wooden foundations and are almost 40 to 50 years old,” he said. “Without the bridges, people cannot leave their homes.”

The Dene Tha’ First Nation in Chateh, about 845 km northwest (525 miles) of Edmonton, and the Little Red River Cree have also been under local emergency flood alerts since the weekend.

High Level’s mayor said Tuesday some evacuees living in the city’s arena and hotels are running out of food.

“It’s a huge influx of people to our small community,” said Crystal McAteer.

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