Vale Island residents were ordered to evacuate on Sunday as ice blocks continued through town and water levels remained extremely high.

In updates posted by the municipality on Sunday afternoon, town officials stated that they expect the Mackenzie Highway to be “underwater and closed shortly.”

“Obey any further instruction from emergency officials on location,” the town stated.

In an earlier post from the day, island residents were recommended to register in-person at the community centre, through the electronic form at www.hayriver.com/breakup, or by phone at 833-699-0188.

“Residents in other flood fringe locations within the community should closely monitor conditions,” the post stated.

The town reported that flooding took place Saturday evening along sections of the East Channel, with 100, 101, 102 and 103 streets in old town seeing varying amounts of flooding.

Old town has been cut off from Hay River proper as water and ice have breached the bank just south of Porritt Landing marina, according to the municipality’s update on Sunday morning.

“Water levels did subside slightly in the area, which permitted for traffic off the island overnight,” stated the town.

Similar evacuation orders have also been put in place by the K’atlodeeche First Nation, particularly for the Old Village and Lower Village/Wolf Drive areas.

The GNWT Department of Environment and Natural Resources stated in its daily updated on water monitoring activities that recorded water levels in Hay River and at the Hay River gauge are higher than the peak in 2021.

“All tributaries to the Hay River are recording water levels higher than the ice-induced peak earlier this week, and continue to rise in response to high precipitation amounts,” the ENR bulletin stated on Sunday.

More than 30 millimetres of rain soaked the town on Saturday, according to the department, further complicating a difficult flooding season.

“It is rare for a precipitation event of this magnitude to coincide with break up,” the bulletin stated. “The potential for further/continued flooding remains high as ice and water continue to move down the Hay River.”

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa. Simon can be reached at...

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