The City of Swift Current has issued an official statement regarding the flash flood. 

After an hour of rain and hail tore through the city on Saturday, the response from City Hall has been one of explanation and solutions. 

Offering up the statement on behalf of the City of Swift Current was the Chief Administrative Officer, Jim Jones. He broke down that this is a "1:100" year flood, but that doesn't mean it happens once every 100 years. 

​ Jim Jones, the Chief Administrative officer for the City of Swift Current.  ​Jim Jones, Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Swift Current.

"Incidents that had happened that at the end of the day used to be one in 100," explained Jones. "Now what's happening is that's about one in every five years."

Put simply, a 1:100-year storm is the severity level. It means that this is the kind of storm that used to be something that would only happen once in 100 years. 

Nowadays, with climate change bearing its fangs, these storms appear to happen once every 5 years. That means that the frequency of them is increasing while carrying the intensity of storms that used to only seldom occur. 

Jones then explained how the city crews went about handling the storm and cleared up some misunderstandings. In particular, he addressed concerns where people may have seen crews picking up debris before they unclogged drains for the flood waters. 

"There was a specific water crew out there doing manual cover releases," said Jones. "Then there was the parks crews doing tree removals, while light and power were trying to get the power back on."

Essentially, there were dedicated crews to each relief effort during the storm. If anyone saw crews neglecting the water, the power, or the clearing of debris, it was because they were doing their designated task, and leaving that work to the other responsible crews. 

Jones also addressed Herbert Street, which recently had some repairs and upgrades made to the drainage line. This work was supposed to help address the flooding problems, which once again plagued the section of the street in front of the Swift Current Branch Library. 

"That was supposed to help get more water into the Swift Current Creek at the end of the street, yes," Jones confirmed. 

Back in 2019, the City of Swift Current spent $2.4 million on improving the drainage systems around the city. The issue they are encountering this time seems to be a mix of a few factors. 

Key among those issues is the fact that the hail and wind added a huge amount of debris from trees, like branches and leaves, into the mix. These materials plugged up the drains, which were already struggling with the large amount of hail that was coming down together with the rain. 

The next biggest issue was the rain itself. Close to 75mm came down during the hour of the storm, exceeding the drain's capacity. 

"2019 was the last time that we had a flood event, in June, similar to this one," said Jones. "We thought that they would be similar because we had the same amount of water, but we found that this one we had way more precipitation than we did in 2019."

As this system struggled with the weather that did come, the City will be open to considerations for further upgrades. The problem with addressing the most troubled areas, like Herbert Street, is money. 

A report that assessed Swift Current, eventually found that the City would need to spend $12 million making upgrades and adding infrastructure to ensure that the low spots would be able to drain more easily. 

"We can't do $12 million to, essentially, protect for 1:100, even though this is a one in 100," said Jones. "It's almost like an act of God. You can't count on the weather."

The expense is too large for Swift Current to justify, as it is such a rare event. 

To prevent more flooding and damage, the City of Swift Current has already made extensive upgrades to ensure more water reaches the Swift Current Creek, as it is the most efficient way to dispose of the water. 

Ditches, culverts and more were improved so that the water could flow easily into the creek, thus improving the drain rate. 

"But when it doubles almost compared to what happened in 2019, it's hard to ascertain exactly how successful we were in diverting more water away," said Jones. 

For now, the City of Swift Current is taking steps to help those affected by the storm on their private property. They are lifting the size limitations on tree disposal, offering free disposal at the landfill. This means that so long as you can get it there before July 31, they will allow you to get rid of it at no charge. 

Other steps are being taken to open up disaster relief, and there should be more information on that available later today. 

It should be noted that the City Crews were able to respond to virtually everything that happened within a few hours, and got everything back up and running by the next day.