Streets in Morden were looking more like rivers Saturday morning and around fifty homes have been issued evacuation notices after severe outland flooding overtook the town overnight.
“We’ve received a substantial amount of rainfall over the last 24 hours, which, coupled with the remnant of the Colorado low we had last weekend, is causing a large amount of runoff in the watershed,” said Morden mayor Brandon Burley.
“There is a substantial bottleneck at the Park Hill Street bridge, which is really just a culvert, so that is the problem right now. The water is flowing about two-and-a-half feet overtop of that road.”
Burley says the evacuation notices were served to homes on the west side of Dead Horse Creek since flooding last week had already caused a bridge to collapse.
Although they had already erected a temporary road, Burley says it is deteriorating, which led to concerns residents may become stranded.
“There are substantial sandbagging efforts underway, and if (residents) need emergency services, they can be provided,” said Burley, adding that displaced people should make their way to the Access Event Centre (111-D Gilmour St.), which has been transitioned into an emergency operations centre.
By 1:30 in the afternoon, the town posted to social media a local state of emergency had been declared “to allow for necessary actions during this significant weather event.”
People living in the area say they woke up to about a foot of water running across streets and through yards, particularly in the north end of town.
“The creek kind of narrows here in the north end of town and the bridge where we’re at, it’s a very large culvert type bridge, so it has backed up the flow and the water has gone over the road,” resident Kelly Weiler said.
“It’s flowing mostly to the west right now, but some of it has been coming to the east.”
Photos and video sent to Global News show water rushing over streets and across lawns.
“The water is about 18 inches deep on the side road right now … there’s a walkway on the east side of Mountain (Street) and the water is up to that, and it’s gone over the curb and right up to the backs of yards,” Adam Mckenzie said from his home in the northwest corner of Morden.
“You could see the water boiling out of the storm drains. When you see that, my concern is, is the water going to come up and through the sewer drains of the houses?”
Adding to the uncertainty, Mckenzie says there’s plenty of snow that still hasn’t melted, and the rain continues to come down.
A statement posted to the town’s website says the Southern Emergency Response Committee has opened up an emergency operations centre in town, and people are being urged to respect barricades “meant to block access to potentially hazardous areas.”
Those in need of assistance are being asked to contact firstname.lastname@example.org, and anyone needing sandbags is told to call 204-362-3986.
On social media, the Morden Police Service is imploring people not to drive around barricades and, in particular, avoid the intersection of Mountain Street and Parkhill Drive.
“The most important thing is to stay safe. It’s fun to go look at crazy water, but we don’t need to have water rescues on top of everything else that’s going on right now,” Burley said.
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