The Town of Hay River has placed all riverfront properties on evacuation alert as concern grows that breakup could result in severe flooding.
Streets like McBryan Drive and Capital Drive are covered by the alert. Rising riverwater has moved beyond ordinarily flood-prone areas to threaten properties at the heart of the South Slave community.
The evacuation alert, issued just before 8pm on Sunday, is one rung below an evacuation order. The warning means residents should be prepared to leave their homes but are not yet being ordered to do so.
Earlier on Sunday, the Paradise Gardens neighbourhood south of Hay River was placed under an evacuation order. Vale Island and several areas of the Kátł’odeeche First Nation have similarly been instructed to evacuate.
The town’s evacuation alert states riverfront properties include those in the town’s corridor, on Miron Drive, McBryan Drive, Capital Drive (downtown) and Riverview Drive.
“This is a precautionary notice. Residents will receive an evacuation order if it becomes necessary,” the town stated.
On Sunday afternoon, the highway connecting Vale Island to the rest of Hay River disappeared underwater after the town had urged remaining island residents to leave. The highway has been flooding intermittently for the past two days.
Vale Island, by the mouth of the Hay River at the town’s north end, has been under an evacuation order since early Saturday morning. Water and ice have spilled onto some of the island’s roads.
Paradise Gardens was added to the evacuation order at 5pm.
Highway closure in Alberta
Hay River is forecast to continue receiving rain or snow for at least the next day. Officials are waiting to see how the weekend’s rainfall in the South Slave and northern Alberta complicates breakup in the days ahead.
So far, breakup has yet to have a significant impact on Dehcho communities.
In Jean Marie River, breakup has not yet taken place, the NWT government reported on its public safety webpage.
Highway 1 between Fort Simpson and Wrigley, which had been closed for repair work, has now reopened. Highway 7 to and from Fort Liard is also open after a road washout earlier this week was repaired.
In northern Alberta, a sinkhole next to the highway north of High Level is being repaired but the road remains passable, authorities said on Sunday morning.
South of High Level, Highway 35 was impassable due to a culvert washout north of the Kemp River railway crossing. Travellers are told to use Highway 88 instead, though Highway 88 also has road damage near Red Earth Creek and delays are possible.