Thunderstorm leads to flooded basements in Winnipeg

Many Winnipeg homeowners are dealing with flooded basements Tuesday morning after a storm overnight brought torrential rain to the city. 

The water started coming up out of the drain in Donna Lynne Law’s laundry room in Transcona around 9 p.m. Monday and soon worked its way into the rest of the basement, where her daughter and her partner live.

“My living room looks like a cyclone hit it, because all their stuff is up in the living room upstairs, and some of their stuff looks like it got damaged,” Law said.

She and her husband are older and on a fixed income, and her husband lives with a disability.

“This is another thing I don’t need right now, financially,” she said.

“I’m just really upset. I want to cry, basically.”

Steve Kolbuck, manager at Roy’s Rooter, went to Law’s house to unclog her drain. He pulled out clumps of roots that had infiltrated the drain pipes, preventing water from going into the sewer.

He’s been getting calls from all over the city.

“My phone’s ringing pretty much nonstop,” he said.

“It rang all night last night with a bunch of messages and then now, this morning, it’s been ringing nonstop. We’re essentially pretty much booked up for the day already. Like, you can only do so much.”

A man crouches over a pile of dark brown plant material on top of a spread out newspaper.
Steve Kolbuck, manager of Roy’s Rooter, pulled large clumps of roots out of Law’s drain. (Submitted by Steve Kolbuck)

Transcona received the most rain recorded over the 24-hour period in Manitoba — 114 millimetres, Environment Canada said. Other parts of the city hit with heavy rain include East Kildonan (96 mm) and The Forks (90.3 mm).

The forecast says there is a chance of more thunderstorms Tuesday afternoon.

There are two main reasons why basements flood during storms, Kolbuck said: because roots block the drain or, particularly in older homes, because debris clogs catch basins.

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