‘A beautiful sunny day’: Last ice flows over the Hay River in the Northwest Territories


Friday morning dawned clear and sunny over Hay River and K’atl’odeeche First Nation in the Northwest Territories, where ice from the river’s breakup still litters the banks and roads of communities.

The river itself was open water, with the last ice being washed downstream.

Jane Groenewegen, who remained in Hay River when it flooded Wednesday evening, said the break was almost over.

“We’re on the tail now…except for the consequences,” she said. “It will last a very long time.”

Both communities remain under an evacuation order and residents who have left are not yet allowed to return.

Ice clears the Hay River of the Northwest Territories overnight

Video footage shows ice moving down the Hay River at 10:37 p.m. Thursday and ice-free water at the same location at 5:54 a.m. Friday, May 13.

In an update late Thursday, the city said it was still focused on emergency response and had yet to begin recovery efforts.

“The city’s infrastructure is significantly compromised, which affects the safe return to certain areas of the community until they are addressed,” he said.

The city said water levels reached new highs on Thursday and a second afternoon surge flooded the north end of Miron Drive, downtown and Cranberry Crescent, causing property damage throughout the city.

The floodwaters have also crippled the sewage system and knocked out power to the water treatment plant, meaning the remaining residents are under a boil water advisory. .

Giant chunks of ice covered in mud litter the road Friday morning along Riverview Drive, which circles the east side of Hay River. (Juanita Taylor/CBC)

Rescuers rescued several people.

The city said there was still an ice jam on Thursday evening, six kilometers south of where the east and west channels converge – “the last of the ice remaining in the system”. Video and photos taken Friday morning at the bridge show that there is no ice left on the river.

At the time of this update, which was released at 8 p.m., the city still expected further flooding to cause further flooding.

He noted that emergency responders need to work out what hazards need to be dealt with before they can let people in.

At Paradise Gardens, which was one of the first areas flooded between Hay River and Enterprise, water levels have dropped.

Groenewegen said Friday morning that trees, ice and debris are piled on the shore, and the smell of diesel fuel from washed-out tanks wafts through the air in some areas where the waters have receded.

She said there was some frustration from residents who were unable to return to the community to check on their homes.

“I think it’s going to be a slow process to get things back to what we call normal,” she said.

“Try to be as responsive as possible”

Shane Thompson, Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA) for the Northwest Territories, said residents will need to be patient as rescuers focus on immediate flood response.

His department coordinates the territorial response and has helped set up evacuation centers. This helps ensure that communities hosting evacuees have food, medical supplies and everything else they need.

“We try to be as responsive as possible,” he said. “We have all government departments working on this and we’re trying to make sure people are there.”

A lift station at Hay River almost entirely underwater. The city says the flooding severely damaged infrastructure, knocking out power to the sewage treatment plant and clogging sewer lines. (Submitted by Jane Groenewegen)

The government learned from last year’s floods in the Dehcho region that it needed to be better prepared, he added, and they had started preparing well in advance for the outburst this year, by engaging assessors early and setting up scouts to help community members. navigate after a flood.

Yet there was no way to tell in advance where the floods would occur or how severe they would be.

“You have a plan, and then it gets worse than we anticipated,” Thompson explained. “Will there be any shortfalls? Yeah, we know that.”

As officials have said all along, emergency response comes first. The focus will be on recovery efforts once it is safe to do so.

“The trick is to be patient. We’re working with the city … and the federal government,” he said.

“We are working to get [residents] home as soon as it is safe and possible. »