Kyle McInnis paddles an inflatable dinghy through the intersection at Hall and Baker streets.

UPDATED: Sudden rain storm floods Nelson streets

Streets of Nelson briefly flooded during sudden storm



A sudden rainstorm Tuesday afternoon wrought havoc on Nelson’s storm pipes.

In the 100 block of Chatham Street a storm drain collapsed because a downstream line was blocked.

Storm water built up to the point that it was flowing out of the manhole, flooding the road even after the rain let up, and causing a sink hole to form in the road.

“There were definitely a lot of flooded basements,” said Nelson director of engineering Allen Fillion.

Elsewhere, a sewer also collapsed at the south west end of Mill Street, sending water pouring into a gully at the end of the road and onto Highway 3A.

“The water eroded the bank of the gully quite severely, making it unsafe to walk through,” said Fillion, explaining the City has blocked off the area and crews won’t be able to repair the damage until the area has dried up.

In downtown Nelson, water pooled at several Baker Street intersections and spilled onto the sidewalks as debris from unpaved alleyways blocked storm drains.

At Wait’s News, on the corner of Baker and Ward streets, Alex Hawes locked the front door and lined the bottom of it with towels to keep the water from getting in.

“We were lucky, there was no water damage,” she said.

Further down the hill, Neal Walmsley of Interior Vacuums, which operates out of a basement unit on the corner of Front and Hall Streets said water came down the stairway and seeped under the front door of his business until city crews came around with sandbags to keep the water out.

“The flood was up to the windows,” he said. “I was glad the City came to help out.”

Fillion said Nelson’s storm drains weren’t built to handle the volume of water they saw Tuesday.

“It’s frustrating for the City and residents because these unusual weather events are happening more and more frequently, as an effect of global warming,” he said.

It didn’t help that lake levels are so high that pipes that usually drain into the lake are currently underwater.

Graciously, the weather improved Wednesday and Thursday giving public works a chance to get on top of the damage caused by the rain. However, rain was predicted to return by Friday.

Recent rain events also prompted the City of Nelson to issue a water quality advisory this week.

Tap water is cloudier than usual, and Interior Health recommends it be boiled for one minute before being consumed by children, elderly people and those with weakened immune systems.

Fillion was hoping the advisory would be short lived, but said Tuesday’s storm added to the problem.

“Usually these advisories come up in May, when the snow is melting. I’ve never seen one this late in the year,” he said.

Fillion is hopeful the advisory will be lifted today. A notice will be posted at nelson.ca when the alert is rescinded.

 

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