‘Twice as much water, twice as much damage’: Claresholm residents hit by more flooding

EDMONTON – The community of Claresholm is scrambling to deal with a flood residents describe as much worse than the one experienced just one year ago.

Southeast of Calgary, the rain continues to fall, flooding roads that now look more like lakes and filling basements.

“I went down, checked the basement and… it was up to the second stair before it came up into the main house,” said Jo-Ann Peach, who lives on the west side of town.

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Recent rain coupled with a heavy downpour Tuesday night caused Claresholm to declare a local state of emergency around 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

A voluntary evacuation order is in place, but most residents are staying in their homes.

FEATURE: Global’s Alberta Flood Watch site

Many of the roads in town were flooded, and some closed to traffic.

Crews were quickly dispatched to the area to help homeowners, but there was nothing anyone could do to stop the water.

“I don’t even know what to think about this,” said Kandice Meister, who moved to Claresholm two months ago with her family.

“It’s purely amazing, for sure, but it’s still a little devastating. We’re not even fully moved in yet, really.”

The town experienced flooding in 2005 and again in 2013. But, residents say this year is considerably worse.

“Twice as much water, twice as much damage,” said Phyllis Faulkner.

“I have way more water in the backyard now than I ever had.

“My furnace is done, my hot water tank is done – it’s going to be another $5,000 to put it back in,” said Faulkner.

Peach is also worried about the damage.

“[It’s] pretty devastating. I don’t know if the insurance will cover it this year.”

The town’s mayor says, despite upgrades to the storm drainage system after the 2005 flood, too much rain fell in a short period of time.

“There comes a time when our sanitary and storm infrastructure just simply can’t handle that amount of rainfall at one time,” explained Rob Steel.

An evacuation centre has been set up in the town’s arena to assist flooded residents.

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