'Everybody's worried': Flood warning issued for Yukon's Teslin Lake

·2 min read
Sandbags are piled up on a property by Teslin Lake in Yukon on Monday. The territorial government has issued a flood warning for the community. Resident Kayne Geddes estimates there are about 100 people in the village volunteering to fill and place sandbags. (Submitted by Kayne Geddes - image credit)
Sandbags are piled up on a property by Teslin Lake in Yukon on Monday. The territorial government has issued a flood warning for the community. Resident Kayne Geddes estimates there are about 100 people in the village volunteering to fill and place sandbags. (Submitted by Kayne Geddes - image credit)

A flood warning was issued for Teslin Lake early Monday afternoon by the Yukon government's Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) as low-lying areas around the lake are flooding.

"I've seen flooding before, but not [water] this high," said Kayne Geddes, a contractor who lives in Teslin.

"Everybody's worried, they don't know what to expect."

Geddes estimates there are about 100 people in the village who are helping protect low-lying areas by filling and placing sandbags.

20 cm per day for 'at least' next 5 days

The flood warning, upgraded from a high streamflow advisory issued a week ago, comes one day after the Village of Teslin and the Teslin Tlingit Council asked residents to be ready to leave at a moment's notice.

EMO said Monday that the lake was rising by more than 20 centimetres a day and that a significant amount of rain fell on the lake basin over the previous 24 hours.

"Water levels are expected to continue rising at more than 20 centimetres per day for at least the next five days," states the EMO's release.

It added that the water level in the lake typically peaks in late June and that this year, the level could set a new record.

In its post to residents Sunday, the village and the First Nation said the water level is "trending toward the probability of reaching or exceeding the historical record set in 1962."

Submitted by Kayne Geddes
Submitted by Kayne Geddes

'Please be prepared'

In the same letter, the village and the First Nation said they have been filling sandbags and working with some property owners in the affected areas. They're advising people to keep an eye out for heavy equipment that may be working in certain areas.

The village and First Nation are also urging residents to plan on removing items that could cause environmental damage, and personal items of value, away from the lakeshore.

Crossed stakes have been placed in the village, creating what officials call the red line. It represents the highest possible projected level the water may reach.

Local officials are advising those who live between the lake and the red line to plan for a possible evacuation.

"This is only about planning at this time, but if the lake continues to rise, we may need to ask certain areas to evacuate, and if we do, it will happen quickly. So please be prepared," the letter states.

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