A precautionary evacuation notice has been issued for flood-prone parts of Hay River.
The town’s latest notice reminded residents of Vale Island and West Channel to be ready to evacuate on short notice. This affects roughly 200 households.
“Resident should now prepare their households for a potential evacuation,” the notice reads.
Glenn Smith, Hay River’s assistant senior administrative officer, told CBC News that a precautionary evacuation notice is the first of three types of alerts that the town could put out in case of an emergency.
“It’s just to be used as a precaution,” Smith said. “We sent out information previously, we went door-to-door, but we wanted to be in compliance with our [emergency] plan and get that information out and to make sure that people are being prepared in case conditions worsen.”
The town will issue evacuation alerts or an evacuation order if the situation gets worse, Smith said.
It’s still too early to know when Hay River will see the peak of this year’s breakup season, Smith continued, so residents of Vale Island and West Channel should be ready to leave at any time.
It also does not mean an evacuation will definitely be happening, Smith said.
“It’s plausible,” Smith continued. “I wouldn’t say that we’re expecting, but we’re preparing.”
An RV park will be set up at in the town’s recreation centre parking lot starting Friday for people who want to get their vehicles prepared for a possible evacuation, Smith said.
Smith re-inforced that the town will resettle any possible evacuees first in hotels in Hay River, then in the RV park being set up and, if necessary, in Yellowknife hotel rooms.
Breakup is moving slowly in most areas south of Hay River, according to the town’s most recent breakup report issued Wednesday. Water is rising around the Chinchaga area, where the water is sitting at around 1.7 metres, which the town said is “higher than we like to see at this time.”
Residents can find more information about how to prepare for breakup through the Town of Hay River’s website or by calling the town’s emergency measures phone system at 833-699-0188.