Residents Evacuated as Floodwaters and Ice Descend on Hay River

Evacuations were ordered on Wednesday, May 11 in the town of Hay River, located in Canada’s Northwest Territories, as floodwater and ice flows descended on the area.

The town sits along the southern shore of Great Slave Lake, where it meets the Hay River. Local reports described heavy flooding after heavy rainfall fell in the region. On Wednesday, the community’s downtown was flooded, according to Cabin Radio, an outlet that covers the Northwest Territories.

An evacuation order was announced at around 11.45 pm on Wednesday, and impacted “all of Hay River,” according to a Facebook post made by the local government. Residents were told to head for higher ground or drive to nearby Enterprise. Officials in nearby Kátł’odeeche First Nation also ordered evacuations.

“For the past several months NWT residents and communities have been working hard to prepare for potential flooding this Spring," said Northwest Territories Premier Caroline Cochrane and Shane Thompson, the territory’s Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs, in a joint statement. “This week, for some, their worst fears were realized as break up began and waters started to rise and continued to rise to never-before-seen levels in some areas. Some had very little warning and had to react quickly to stay safe, while leaving their home, their possessions, and for some their business, to endure the water and ice.”

On Thursday morning, the CBC reported that a “second surge of water and ice” had driven into the area. This video, recorded by Mary Jane Martin along the Hay River, shows heavy ice flows. Credit: Mary Jane Martin via Storyful

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