Churchill Floods Cause Havoc on Train Service

 

Churchill flooding

Flooding at Churchill’s Goose Creek subdivision. Riccki O’Connor photo.

Nobody really thought ahead when the massive blizzards were pounding Churchill this past March. When the spring thaw came, permafrost has prevented meltwater from permeating the soil and has lead to major flooding in parts of the tundra from Thompson to Churchill along the Hudson Bay rail line.

Once again, as was during the time of the blizzards, supplies and groceries have been delayed due to lack of train service to the northern community. During the March storms groceries were stranded in the south for three weeks leading to a state of emergency.

“With the spring melt underway, water is everywhere”, said Mayor Mike Spence. “We’ve got historic record water flows coming into our community here. It’s a lot of water coming down,”.

Not expected to peak until early June, the Churchill River, as of last weekend, was flowing at about 160,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). With ice still on the Churchill River the flow of overrun onto land can be unpredictable due to tidal flow and ice jamming along shore.

The Goose Creek subdivision has been flooded up river and volunteers have been furiously filling and placing sandbags to try to contain the water. The tracks over parts of the 100 mile stretch of the Hudson Bay rail line have been completely flooded over and no trains have been through since May 23rd.

“We have a rail problem here where we are not able to use the train system because of damage to the rail line, so that needs to be attended to, and that actually can’t be attended to until the water conditions are dealt with.” stated Spence.

Churchill is working with Thompson’s Calm Air, to work out plans to fly groceries into town as soon as possible!

Ryan Anderson Triumphs in Hudson Bay Quest

The Hudson Bay Quest finished this weekend without any major incidents and Ryan Anderson from Ray, Minnesota won gold with a time of 31:56:43! Ryan held off second place finisher Sean McCarty and third place finisher Peter McClelland to claim the top prize. Anderson also was awarded the Calm Air sportsmanship award as well as first to halfway honor. All in all this year’s race had fantastic weather and a great group of volunteers to facilitate all the challenges. Congratulations to all the mushers that competed in what has become one of the best races in the north!

Hudson Bay Quest winner Ryan Anderson

Ryan Anderson wins the Hudson Bay quest. HBQ photo.

Hudson Bay Quest winner Ryan Anderson

Ryan Anderson accepting the winners trophy. HBQ photo.

2016 Hudson Bay Quest mushers

2016 Hudson Bay Quest mushers. HBQ photo.

Jacob Heigers Vet award for 2016 Hudson Bay Quest

The 2016 Vet award for exceptional animal care was presented to Jacob Heigers. HBQ photo.

Ryan Anderson won the sportsmanship award for 2016 Hudson Bay Quest

Ryan Anderson also won the Calm Air sportsmanship award. HBQ photo.

Canadian Rangers at the Hudson Bay Quest

As always the Canadian Rangers were key support for the 2016 Hudson Bay Quest. HBQ photo.

 

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