Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Rainfall puts crimp in weekend fun

The Forks registers 71.8 mm of precipitation

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Seven-year-old Brooklynn Chaske and family refused to let the weekend deluge ruin their Red River Ex fun.

They arrived Sunday after driving from Portage la Prairie but never made it through the Ex's gates.

"We actually did come," said mom Hope Faschoway, pausing as Brooklynn's dad finished the sentence.

"But we went back home again," Max Chaske said.

"It was spitting when we left, but we didn't make it through the doors," the mom said.

The family was back Monday, riding the midway minutes after it opened at 3 p.m. under bright sunshine.

"I've been looking forward to it all week," Brooklynn chimed in.

The rain forced the cancellation Sunday of numerous events in the city, including the Red River Exhibition's Red River Ride of Rides show-horse jumping, Assiniboia Downs horse racing, two Winnipeg Goldeyes games and an outdoor concert of the Winnipeg Jazz Festival.

Environment Canada meteorologist Terri Lang said Monday 71.8 mm of rain fell on The Forks Saturday and Sunday, while 69.4 mm fell at Richardson International Airport.

Lang said Sunday's rainfall was a record. The old one was 13.5 mm in 1950.

"Daily records are relatively easy to break as all you need is one good storm to do it," she said, adding 13.5 mm isn't much precipitation for a single day.

Lang said the next highest amount of precipitation was in Pinawa, with 71.5 mm, followed by Great Falls, with 60 mm, and Portage la Prairie's Southport station had 48.3 mm.

Lang said the two waves of rain, one on Saturday and one on Sunday, came in a steady fall, not a driving downpour.

"The first was slow-moving and steadily filled up the gauges," she said.

"The second was more convection, so there were heavier amounts."

Lang said Winnipeg received 29.1 mm of rain on Saturday followed by 40.1 mm on Sunday.

People poured through the gates at the Red River Ex Monday afternoon.

People who hadn't been admitted on the weekend came back. Others were lucky enough to have the day off.

For midway workers, the lost weekend robbed them of a big chunk of change they may not earn back this year.

"It was terrible, like Death Valley," said one worker.

Another said he counted 30 paying customers on Sunday. Sales were off 80 per cent.

Midway spokesman Bennett Caveals put a shine on the downer Monday.

"They're going to come out," Caveals said of crowds the rain kept away.

"The weekdays are going to be busier and this weekend's going to be packed if the weather's good," Caveals said.

He said last weekend reinforced a lesson about the city's love for carnivals: "It was soggy, but you know, Winnipeggers are tough. There were people here. Not as many, but there were people riding the rides," Caveals said.

Hilda and Roy Tyndall didn't go on the rides in rain this year but in other years they discovered that can be the best date to do so.

"Best time to come is in the rain because there are no lineups for the rides," Hilda said.

"That's for the diehards," Roy chuckled.

City spokeswoman Lisa Fraser said the rain caused 83 residents to report clean water entering their property and 27 to report sewer backups, while the city received 100 reports of plugged or slow-draining catch basins.

Fraser reminded residents they can reduce the risk of sewer backup and basement flooding by installing a backwater valve and sump pit drainage system.

For more tips from the city, go to: http://tinyurl.com/coj3hv.

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca alexandra.paul@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 17, 2014 A2

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