BRANDON — Brandon was swamped Sunday night by record-setting rainfall.
By Monday morning, the rain had stopped — after dumping 155 millimetres on the southwest Manitoba city — but the effects lingered as roads, highways and buildings were flooded.
According to Mayor Rick Chrest, whose own basement needed to be bailed out, the storm was the first instance of the city’s emergency warning system being used in a non-test situation, since it was installed in 2004.
Spruce Woods MLA Cliff Cullen, Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman and Portage la Prairie city manager Nathan Peto reached out to Chrest to offer assistance Monday, but Chrest said Brandon staff had the situation in hand and external help wasn’t needed.
"They’re trying to get ahead of any future rain," he said of civic employee response. "We’re told it’s forecasted for us to get more rain over the next few days. More rain on top of an already-saturated system doesn’t help."
Multiple videos posted to social media showed the stairs descending to the Brandon Regional Health Centre’s sub-basement transformed into a cascading waterfall, damaging the pharmacy, materials management, medical device reprocessing and nutrition services departments.
The Brandon Hospital’s basement is flooding. This includes the pharmacy and cafeteria, according to the nurse who took this video. The elevators are not working and the hospital is running off of a back up power source she tells me. #mbstorm pic.twitter.com/gTRuXUzGrD— Abigail Turner (@turnerrAbigail) June 29, 2020
Water damage to the hospital caused surgeries and endoscopic procedures to be cancelled for the day. The Fairview and Hillcrest personal care homes also operated by Prairie Mountain Health were closed to visitors Monday as a result of water damage to those facilities.
The Trans-Canada Highway was flooded from its junction with Highway 10 to Highway 110, causing a closure for several hours. Just north, the intersection between Highway 10 and Sandison Road was also flooded, forcing visitors to Brandon Municipal Airport to take a detour and approach from the west.
Late Monday night, the province said in an email it is monitoring the impact of this significant rainfall in a number of areas, including Brandon, the rural municipalities of Oakview and Elton, and the town of Minnedosa.
The RMs of Oakview and Cornwallis, as well as the municipalities of Riverdale and Clanwilliam-Erickson, declared states of local emergency due to flooding.
"Provincial staff have been deployed to monitor conditions at the Rapid City reservoir dam, which has been breached. Staff are using an excavator to widen the breach in order to prevent damage to the dam, if required," the province said.
Some Minnedosa residents feared its dam would soon fail under pressure of the heavy rainfall caused by Sunday’s thunderstorms.
"We’re well-flooded," said Minnedosa Mayor Pat Skatch. "The sad part is we’ve got people whose homes are in rough shape — not a home you want to walk into."
As of noon, Manitoba Public Insurance said it had received 68 water-related claims, 38 hail-related claims, and one tornado-related claim associated with the storm. By the end of the day, a spokesperson said the total number exceeded 200.
— Brandon Sun
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Updated on Monday, June 29, 2020 at 9:52 PM CDT: Fixes coding on embedded media
10:53 PM: Updates story with Minnedosa details.