A highly localized thunderstorm was to blame for the deluge of water that put much of southern and eastern Saskatoon underwater Monday afternoon.
While the airport saw less than one millimeter of rain, the east and southeast parts of the city saw 45 mm to 75 mm (1.7 inches to three inches) between 1 pm and 2 pm, Environment Canada meteorologist Terri Lang said in a city media briefing .
“Just because thunderstorm cells are often very small, little units, and if they’re stationary, that’s what can happen,” she said.
“We saw a very similar event in North Battleford last week, they got 100 millimeters of rain in less than six hours just because of a situation where the thunderstorms kept going over the same area at the same time.
“We don’t see it every year and it’s again, it’s particularly devastating when it goes over towns and cities where there’s more pavement and that rain has nowhere to go, but certainly a notable event here. We haven’t seen one of these for a few years in the city, for sure.”
Lang said most of the energy of the storm has moved on and only light showers and thunderstorms are expected into the evening.
Angela Gardiner, general manager of utilities and environment, said the city’s infrastructure is keeping up with the rainfall but they are monitoring conditions closely.
Residents can help by not running washing machines, dishwashers or flushing toilets unless flushing is absolutely necessary, she said.
The city’s dry storm ponds, which are designed to hold water that would otherwise cause flooding nearby, are working as intended in the eastern areas of the city, she said.
The city asks residents to report emergencies such as stranded vehicles, missing manholes and street or underpass flooding to the 24 Hour Customer Service Center at 306-975-2476.