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Reston hammered again by thunderstorm

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These are restless times in Reston.

The small southwestern Manitoba community, about 600 people strong, is dealing with flood waters again after another heavy downpour Tuesday evening. According to Environment Canada, Reston was hammered by 104 millimetres of rain, four days after absorbing nearly 150 mm of rain last Friday.

Reston is located in the R.M. of Pipestone, between Melita and Virden near the Saskatchewan border.

Shirley Williamson, who lives on 1st Street on the western edge of town, didn’t paint a favourable picture of the situation around her home this morning.

"It looks like a lake," she said, taking a short break from manning the pump in her basement. "The south part of the street is completely flooded. We had a voluntary evacuation (Tuesday) night because officials thought the highway (Provincial Hwy 2) was going to wash out. I guess it didn’t, but it was a tense situation."

Williamson said she and her husband Mel were only given a couple minutes to leave Tuesday evening. They ended up spending 3-4 hours at their son’s place in a drier part of town, before returning home to find seven inches of water in their basement.

As of this morning, there was water coming over Hwy 2. Residents say officials have asked people to stay home and are not advising travel in the area.

Sheila Campbell, who works at the Rest’n Inn on 6th Avenue, confirms the major water damage is on the western side, near the golf course. She reports highway closures on Hwy 2 and Hwy 83, adding "we feel kind of stranded here."

Campbell said officials were trying to sandbag the railway tracks Tuesday evening, using the raised rail line as a dike to protect some low lying homes south of the town.

"They’ve been working hard to control the water," she said. "Hopefully, the rain gives us a break and stays away for the next little while."

This is the second time in less than a week the town is dealing with high waters. Streets are flooded around the community – to the point where only trucks with a higher clearance can get through -- and several residents are spending their hours like Williamson, pumping water out of their basements.

"There is furniture in the streets, some of it is floating around," she said. "A lot of people moved their furniture outside after what happened on Saturday, but this is worse. We were told to just leave it (the furniture) at the curb because the roads were washed out to the dump.

"The ground is so saturated right now. It can’t hold anymore water."

Municipal officials are currently working under a state of emergency.

Officials have put out a call for volunteers to help with sandbag and pump efforts. Volunteers can register with the R.M. of Pipestone Municipal Office at (204) 877-3327.

Source: Environment Canada, Manitoba Ag Weather Program


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Updated on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 12:19 PM CDT: Changes art, adds Storify, graphic.

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