Fire-scarred Fort McMurray drying out after flooding
Published Monday, August 1, 2016 12:07PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, August 1, 2016 9:35PM EDT
First it was fire, then it was water.
Less than two months after Fort McMurray, Alta. residents returned home after wildfires devastated the city, the oilsands town has been inundated with floodwaters.
Downtown Fort McMurray, which was left largely unscathed by the wildfires that destroyed roughly 2,400 buildings, experienced localized flooding over the weekend. Video posted online shows residents taking to the streets in canoes and jet skis.
The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which encompasses Fort McMurray, activated its emergency operations centre on the weekend -- the first time it has done so since raging fires gutted the region.
On Sunday, the northern Alberta community experienced nearly 85 mm of rain in two hours.
The deluge led to flooding in basements, sewer backups and flooded parking lots.
"We couldn't mop up or anything because it was flowing in through the doors," said Matt Voigt, the owner of a Harley Davidson dealership on Monday.
According to Environment Canada, more thunderstorms are expected late Monday afternoon and evening.
"You have to feel for the people there," David Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada, told CTV News Channel on Monday.
After having next to no rain as wildfires swept through the region in May, Phillips says the city experienced more than a month’s worth of precipitation in just two hours on Sunday.
"It’s almost biblical," he said. "From drought to fires to floods to -- where are the locusts? It really has been topsy-turvy."
For homeowners whose possessions and homes survived the massive wildfire that surrounded and burned part of the community, the flooding is a bitter pill to swallow.
"Everything was safe and now everything I own is ruined," said April King, who woke up to a flooded basement.
Other parts of Alberta experienced extreme weather over the weekend, with localized flooding reported in Edmonton and golf ball-sized hail causing damage across Calgary.
City officials in Fort McMurray say they're analyzing the situation and looking at what led to the sewer backups and drainage issues.
With files from The Canadian Press, CTV News Edmonton and CTV News Calgary.