Storm damages south Edmonton basements, schools
Published Thursday, July 12, 2012 6:15PM MDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 12, 2012 6:38PM MDT
Thursday’s severe storm packed its strongest punch for parts of south Edmonton.
Dozens of basements in the area were flooded, roads and a parking lot at a south side apartment building were turned into lakes and two schools in Mill Woods received water damage and its gym floors will need to be replaced.
Ernie Koch watched as it all unfolded. Koch’s suite in an apartment complex at 34 Avenue and 58 Street overlooks the parking lot that filled with water as the rain came pouring down.
He says in under an hour, five feet of water had covered cars in the lot, including his own.
“Normally we don’t get flooded out like this,” Koch said.
He described cars in the lot floating because of the water.
For south side residents Debbie and Tim Drader, this wasn’t their first flood.
“To have this happen again is very frustrating,” Debbie, whose basement in the area of 25 Avenue and 49 Street was flooded as a result of the storm, told CTV News.
The couple remembers the summer of 2004 when four feet of water filled their Mill Woods basement after a powerful storm.
They installed a sump pump after the fact, but water found another way in this time, through a sewer pipe behind the washer.
“It was like a waterfall and we couldn’t stop it,” Debbie said.
While the amount is significantly less than back in 2004, the Drader’s says everything that was in her basement has been ruined.
The couple hired a salvage company and called their insurance agent first thing Thursday.
The city also inspected their home.
The couple is wondering why the flooding happened to them a second time. They say water wasn’t draining on the street in front of their house.
“The whole area was just covered in water,” Tim said.
“The water was shooting four inches out of the manholes, it was crazy.”
The city says it worked as fast it could after floods closed down major roadways and officials say storm infrastructure is in place to handle regular rainfall amounts for the Edmonton region and that Thursday’s storm was a rare occurrence.
The Red Cross says they are assisting 50 people who have been affected by the storm. That includes providing hygiene kits, blankets, and four days accommodation at a local hotel.
The storm also caused damage to a number of Edmonton Public schools.
According to the school board, 12 schools had reported some type of damage varying from severe flooding to minor water seepage in ceiling tiles and carpets as a result of the storm.
J. Percy Page High School and T.D. Baker Junior High School in Mill Woods will need to have its gym floors replaced due to water damage. It may take until the end of September for those repairs to be completed.
Damage to the 12 schools is estimated to be between $400,000 and $500,000.
With files from Susan Amerongen