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Deluge washes out roads in Emo, La Vallee

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While it only rained an inch or so in Fort Frances overnight Monday, some families living west of here, particularly in Emo, Devlin, and La Vallee, were hit hard.

Starting around midnight, the sudden downpour--dumping up to three-and-a-half inches of rain in some spots--washed out several area roads and stranded folks such as Ian and Neila Booth of Devlin.

“It’s quite interesting,” she chuckled as their home was surrounded by several feet of water after the nearby creek overflowed.

“We had to make four phone calls into workplaces today--and it should be a couple days before we can get out of here,” she added.

Still, Booth remained optimistic that despite the complete flooding of her yard and the nearby Booth Road, things would be all right.

“It did happen last year so it’s not so bad. But I did hear there could be rain tonight,” she noted yesterday with a bit of good humour.

The Booths should be able to get out of their home late today.

Devlin resident Shirley Morrish also spoke of the disastrous situation. “It’s terrible here--we have a total washout south of us,” she noted Tuesday morning.

“Some of the roads, like [La Vallee Road North], are so bad, you could drop a truck into the gap,” she added.

Morrish said road crews in her area were scrambling to dump gravel and to dig new culverts to free up some stranded residents, such as the Booths.

While she couldn’t guess on the actual depth of the water gathered around certain areas in Devlin, she did say it was “like a river.”

“It’s pretty scary. I guess [the Booth’s] son had a friend over [Monday] night and they had to go to work this morning but there’s no chance of that now,” she said.

In Emo, Fred Klug, owner of Emo Sales and Service, said Clearwater Road where he lives was washed out.

“We had a flash flood,” he noted yesterday morning.

Kitchen Creek Golf Club was closed yesterday, today, and possibly tomorrow due to the excess water.

“With all the rain we’ve gotten lately, it really depends on how soon the water drains aways,” club pro Gord Workum noted this morning.

And about 3,000 residents in Crozier, Stratton, and Rainy River were without power for about two hours early yesterday morning because of repairs that had to be made due to a lightning strike.

Luckily, the stormy weather--aside from brilliant lightning, loud claps of thunder, and about an inch-and-a-half of rain--did not affect Fort Frances.

“[The recent weather] hasn’t been that bad. We’ve been pretty fortunate,” said Milt Strachan, superintendent of Public Works here.

Strachan noted road crews here have not had to attend to any washed out roads, or the like, so far this summer.

Ironically, the storm also missed communities west of Emo.

“About 2:30 a.m., I woke up and realized there was lightning, thunder, and a few drops but it was nothing like [the conditions in Emo],” noted Stratton resident Mary Bottenfield.

Although much of the water drained away from some roads by Tuesday afternoon, some areas, such as alongside La Vallee Road North, will remain considerably flooded until at least the end of today.

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