An evacuation order was issued for the entire community of Hay River, Northwest Territories at 11:45 p.m. MT Tuesday, with residents told to head to higher ground or the community center .
“Residents can also drive to Enterprise and wait there for more information,” it read. a Facebook post from the Town of Hay River.
Those requiring transportation assistance are asked to call 833-699-0188. People leaving the community are asked to register at the same number or on the city website.
The order for the entire community of around 3,500 came days after flooding reached the small satellite community of Paradise Gardens and threatened the old town of Hay River, followed by the entirety of the island of Value.
The order came just 45 minutes after an evacuation order was issued for all waterfront properties.
Threats to the community’s “new town” – which was built in response to a major flood in 1963 – were considered unlikely by many.
Roy Helmer told CBC’s Juanita Taylor that he’s lived in the community all his life.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said shortly after the order was issued. “It’s amazing. The river gets high but nothing like that.
“I just see water coming through all the trees there.”
When asked if he would be leaving, Helmer replied that he didn’t know where he would be going.
Video shot by CBC’s Emma Grunwald showed rescue workers in waders guiding people through knee-deep water outside the town’s liquor store.
The video shared by April Martel, Chief of the K’atl’odeeche First Nation, captured the sound of the city’s overhead siren, which woke many people.
Another video posted to Facebook by resident Darlene Lamb shows water flooding downtown streets.
“This is where the theater is; it’s all flooded,” Lamb says in the video.
A tweet from Buffalo Air’s Mikey McBryan at 11:43 p.m. said the community had been hit by flash flooding and Hay River Airport, located on Vale Island, had been closed.
I just learned that my family home in Hay River has just been hit by a flash flood. My mother came out just as the water was rushing. YHY airport is closed. Waiting for more information.