Tuesday 2 July 2013

Reston flood update - with pictures

I don't know what's happening with the weather these days, but man, the Gods must be mad about something. Heat waves and massive tornadoes are killing people in the US, and here in Canada it's flooding all over.

Of course everybody knows about the disastrous flooding in Alberta, but recently a pair of freakish storms swept over Reston Manitoba dumping 10 inches of rain in 2 days. I stopped by Reston on my way back to Winnipeg from Saskatchewan to check things out. Here is my report:


Hi. Cherenkov here reporting from Reston. As you can see, most of the water has receded from the town, but there is still a lot of work to be done to get things back to normal.

Reston Golf Course - Hole #1
Roughly half the houses in this town have been flooded. Many basements were destroyed, and the foundations of some older houses have crumbled, likely requiring the the houses to be demolished and rebuilt. As of Friday, water continued to rush through the ditches towards town, and pumps were running constantly to drain low-lying areas.

Pumpin' Water

Like most disasters, this was a story of a community coming together to help each other. Families, teenagers, friends of residents, and people who weren't even connected to the town, came to help.

Mennonites from southwest Manitoba descended on the town to help however they could. Some of them were still there on Friday when I visited. They are good folk, those Mennonites. Well ... most of them.

As all the basements were torn apart and emptied onto the streets, volunteers drove around and picked up the garbage, hauling it to a temporary dump at the old elementary school where it was sorted out into giant piles.

I know one young man who, with his friends and some others, hauled in rocks to shore up Highway 2 to prevent it from getting washed out. Highway 2 was acting as a dike, holding back water that was building up on the north side of the road. Although water was rushing over the highway, if the road had collapsed the situation would have been much worse.

Note that it was residents and friends who protected the town and shored up the highway -- not the province. Sure, the Premier drove out five days later and toured the area for a photo op, but I've heard that the town and municipality have been on their own to deal with the situation. I do expect, however, that some disaster assistance will be coming their way at some point. We all know how good the province is about doling out flood compensation.

The damage wasn't limited to houses. The CP Rail line through town was washed out.
Rail line on western edge of town
This is a minor line that dead-ends not far into Saskatchewan, and it would not be a surprise if CPR shuts it down rather than repairing it. If so, that would be a blow to the grain elevator in town that was purchased and reopened by some local farmers.

It will take a while for everything to get fixed. If another big storms rolls through I'm not sure what will happen, but them country folk are resilient.

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