Skip to content

Skittish about another rain week

Story:The weather this summer has made me skittish. After downpours that have flooded Maple Creek, Saskatoon, Yorkton and North Battleford, I get nervous when we get a lot of rain here in Estevan.
GN201010309089985AR.jpg

Story:The weather this summer has made me skittish.

After downpours that have flooded Maple Creek, Saskatoon, Yorkton and North Battleford, I get nervous when we get a lot of rain here in Estevan.

The reason? It turns out after spending an exorbitant amount on a house in a hyper-inflated oil-boom fuelled housing market two years ago, we ended up with a house that has a design flaw.

The long-term neighbours tell me an error was made when the house was surveyed. The elevation was set incorrectly. When they came along to pour the sidewalks and driveway, it ended up that the front of my garage is perfectly level with the sidewalk. I have exactly zero elevation between the sidewalk and my house. I know this because when the snow melts, the 20-foot wide puddle covers almost the entire driveway, perfectly.

Two weeks ago we had a pronounced cloudburst that had water coming in the front door, as well as through a seam between the footings and garage floor on the west side. Thankfully there is a floor drain installed in the garage, and my wife was quick with the floor squeegee.

Thus is was with great trepidation that I glanced at the weather forecast Sunday night and found a rainfall warning calling for up to 100 mm (four inches) of rain over the next day. That's Yorkton-flood scale, especially if it comes in a short time.

Speaking of flooding, I heard the 2010 North Battleford flooding was compared to a one-in-50 year rain event. Funny, but I covered two other similar one-in-50 rain events while working there in recent years. Either the math is off, or it shouldn't rain hard there again for 150 years.

I had bounced around the idea of putting a wooden dike in front of the garage to slow down any possible inflow. The 2x4s leftover from building the playground were warped beyond use, however, so I ended up running to the lumber yard 25 minutes before closing on the Sunday of a long weekend. Thankfully, they had one straight 20-foot 2x6 after looking through at least 10 boards in the pile.

Unloading the singular $8.48 board from the truck, I looked at the black clouds menacing on the horizon. Lovely.

Thinking I looked like an idiot, building a dam in front of my garage, I was somewhat relieved and yet concerned when Ed, my neighbour across the way, said it was a good idea. He has just has his basement flooded recently, and had to tear out all his oak cabinetry downstairs. He told me the builders of my house would on occasion have water come in, through the garage.

The wet/dry shop vac is now at the ready for major rain events, as is the large floor squeegee. (I recommend everyone should have one of each.) I even got a few boards ready to put up a secondary dike inside the garage, meant to stop or at least minimize any water flowing down the stairs and into the basement.

We didn't get the downpour I expected, but at least now I'm ready. It may look stupid, but I am largely erring on the ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure side. If my $8.48 board can prevent $8,000 in damage, it will be well worth it. The question is, do I put that board out every time we have a major downfall expected? What about while on holidays?

In order to prevent the heartache that Yorkton residents went through, the answers are likely, yes, and yes.

- Brian Zinchuk is editor of Pipeline News. He can be reached at brian.zinchuk@sasktel.net.