Stony experiencing second wettest summer in two decades

Residents in Stony Plain have dealt with a ton of rain over the past two months, with Environment Canada reporting 124.9 mm of precipitation in June alone.

A picture of the flooding on Glenwood Cresent in Stony Plain. The province has received heavy rain as of late, but crop reports show it has not been a detriment to area farmers. Submitted photo

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The skies have opened over Stony Plain for the summer with no intention of closing anytime soon.

Residents in Stony Plain have dealt with a ton of rain over the past two months, with Environment Canada reporting 124.9 mm of precipitation in June alone. This is the second highest amount of precipitation the town has experienced in the last 20 years. The wettest was in 2011 when the 133.1 mm of rain fell in June.

“If the month continues on this trajectory it too could be the second wettest July we’ve seen in over 20 years. 65.8 mm in the first half of this month has already fallen, that’s averaging 4.39 mm per day. If we carry on to see these kind of numbers, we’ll see over 136 mm,” said Town of Stony Plain corporate communications officer, Stephanie Barsby Boisvert, who is also a meteorologist.

The heavy rain has caused problems with flooding throughout the community. Water levels were high enough in some areas for families to break out a canoe in their cul de sacs. One family actually did.

Light hearted stories aside, the rain has caused damage and major inconvenience to families throughout Stony Plain. The Stony Plain Fire Department responded to numerous calls after each of the two major storms, with residents reporting flooding in basements and natural gas leaks.

“We checked quite a few homes with our monitor,” said Fire Chief Trevor Mistal. “No natural gas was found; however we did witness several homes with sewage backup. Unfortunately, we cannot do much to help when there is sewage backup or water pouring into a basement.”

Public Works was aware of the flash flooding events but could do nothing to prevent accumulation in the midst of some of the worst storms the town has seen over the past decade. One on July. 7, and one this past Monday.

“Public Works is ensuring all culverts, pipes and catch basins are flowing. The storm water went down to a normal level roughly two hours after the storm last night,” said Town of Stony Plain manager of operations Greg Zirk. “Based on unofficial rainfall amounts reported to us from residents across Stony Plain, the storm on July 7th and last night indicate both were a one in 100 year event.”

Town Council is already in the process of exploring options to improve drainage in some of the areas hit hardest. Especially in Whispering Waters Creek where most of the water has accumulated during both major storms.

“The Town has plans to review the ability to upsize culverts in Whispering Waters Creek,” said Deputy Mayor Eric Meyer. “The Town’s system worked as it should, however there is always room for improvement. When storms like this hit it is an opportunity for us to figure out where upgrades need to be made. I sympathize with residents who are experiencing water issues.”

The town recommends residents check downspouts are in place and away from their homes, that they ensure they have a back flow valve installed. The Town is also asking residents to ensure their sump pump’s are working correctly.

Mistal cautioned residents from driving in storm water, as roads could be washed out, or have debris piled up on them. He further recommends staying away from the Area of Atim Creek, as water levels rise quickly.

The fire department further instructs against the use of indoor generators due to carbon monoxide output, and suggests all residents have an emergency preparedness kit. Having a full tank of gas, a charged cell phone, and documentation on hand is recommended for a quick exit if necessary.

Residents experiencing water damage should contact their insurance companies first. The Town web site also has a claims and insurance page where anyone may download a complaint form.

“Safety is our priority. We had members positioned near the trails to keep people from getting too close to the creek. For a short time it was extremely high and moving very quickly. I’ve witnessed many who under estimate the power of the creek when it’s at levels like last night. If you fell in, you would be in grave danger,” says Chief Mistal.