Water levels are receding in Fort Good Hope, a day after the community declared a state of emergency due to flooding.
Chief and council declared the emergency on Tuesday morning after water levels surpassed the community’s 12-metre threshold and low-lying areas began flooding. At least 13 households have been evacuated so far.
On Wednesday, Councillor Arthur Tobac told Cabin Radio he estimated water levels had dropped around four feet (1.2 metres), while chunks of ice from upriver had mostly travelled past the community unobstructed.
“It’s not flowing as quickly as it was a few days ago,” Tobac said. “It’s slowed down, and the ice is starting to get a little bit scattered, so it’s a good sign.”
Despite receding water levels, Fort Good Hope will remain under a state of local emergency for a total of seven days as is protocol under the NWT Emergency Plan. Municipal and community affairs minister Paulie Chinna can choose to downgrade the emergency before the seven days are up.
Fort Good Hope has been on flood watch for much of May. Fuel and sewage tanks were emptied last week in preparation as ice began breaking along the Mackenzie River, and evacuation plans had been formed for at-risk homes.
While everyone in the community remains safe, Tobac said a clean-up of flooded areas and assessment of potential damage to infrastructure are needed.
He said the hamlet will continue providing daily updates to residents via radio.
Flood watch continues
Tsiigehtchic and Fort McPherson in the Beaufort Delta are at “elevated risk” for flooding according to a public safety notice issued by the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs on Wednesday afternoon.
Aklavik has been on “high alert” for the past week. However, Mayor Andrew Charlie said there had been no flooding concern in the community yet.
“With Aklavik being on a floodplain, we are on standby every year,” he said. “It’s nothing new. We just have to wait for the water to come, and hopefully it doesn’t flood.”
According to Charlie, water levels are still about three metres from the tops of riverbanks.
The hamlet has been holding weekly meetings for residents to receive updates and broadcasting information on local radio.
Aklavik gets ice about five days after Tsiigehtchic, said Charlie.
He urged community members to stay safe and cautious.
“We have some hunters that travel around with boats this time of year,” he said. “Just be careful out there and keep an eye on each other.”