County of Lethbridge state of emergency declared
Published Friday, June 18, 2010 5:15PM MDT
Many areas near Lethbridge are soaked.
The Oldman River spilled into the Bridge Valley Campground. An RV owner who ignored the evacuation order had to be rescued by boat. His truck now sits in four feet of water.
In the city of Lethbridge, some parks along the river valley are closed, and in outlying areas there's incredible overland flooding.
For some, the flood damage is heartbreaking. The rain has tapered off, but the water is still pouring into yards, surrounding homes, and flooding basements.
"Pumped and everything else yesterday afternoon and still woke up to this mess," commented flood victim John Gerley.
The mess is the result of two days of steady, at times, heavy rainfall. It was too much rain for already saturated farm fields. The run-off is cutting rivers of water through prime irrigation country, washing over roads, and in some cases, breaching canals.
Some area residents say they've seen things, they've never seen before.
"It was just like a river flowing through the field, over the irrigation canal, and on into another field. It was unbelievable," said Joyce Donkersgoed.
Employees of the St. Mary River Irrigation District say for many southern Alberta farmers, the impact is devastating. Some areas have received 40 centimetres, or 13 inches of rain over the past two-and-a-half weeks.
Todd McCann and his father have struggled to get this year's crop planted, because of wet weather. Now they're trying to salvage grain from storage bins surrounded by water.
And the concern is, while water levels are going down, they are still dangerously high in canals and irrigation storage reservoirs from the mountains, to Saskatchewan.
Municipal workers say it's frustrating, because with so much rain, there's not much more they can do.