About 50 residents of the Poundmaker Cree Nation in west-central Saskatchewan have had to leave their homes as flood waters threatened to strand them.

The Cut Knife Creek has overflowed its banks. The situation is now stable — but as a precaution, the residents were told to leave.

The commissioner of emergency management for the province, Duane McKay, says it is not known when the residents will be allowed to return:

“We are monitoring that, simply because road access to some parts of the community are still at risk — and we will be working with the First Nation over the next few days, not only to deal with this particular situation, but to anticipate what might occur over the next few days once the temperature warms up.”

The Onion Lake Cree Nation, also in west-central Saskatchewan is also declaring a state of emergency.  Five other communities — four northwest of Saskatoon, and Maidstone, east of Lloydminster — have also declared states of emergency.

Chief Wallace Fox says some of their roads were washed out leaving people stranded.

He expects repairs will have to be made when the water subsides:

“You know of course everything gets into domino effect. School buses can’t run on certain roads and people with health challenges…we have to figure out how to assist them.”

Fox has been in Edmonton on business but is in close contact with band officials.

In southern Saskatchewan, it was heavy wet snow and slush, not water that created a state of emergency. The main highway between Regina and Saskatoon was closed. Vehicles, including cars and semis, were stuck in a lineup going all the way from Lumsden to Bethune, a distance of about 30 km. As of 1:00 pm, that stretch of Highway 11 was still closed to traffic.

Motorists are advised to check the Highway Hotline for updates as conditions are changing by the hour.