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A Canadian town notorious for flooding once froze into a block of ice

Monday, February 14th 2022, 11:30 pm - Flooding and then freezing led to problems in Badger, Newfoundland

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


Badger is a town in north-central Newfoundland. It was named after Badger Brook, which flows through the town and into the Exploits River. That's one of the three rivers that caused a major flooding event on Feb. 15, 2003.

Badger is no stranger to flooding. Ice will often jam their river systems and their small town overflows with water. The first recorded flood was in 1903 and another major flood occurred in 1916. Two more severe flooding events occurred in 1943 and 1977. The town also flooded in 1983 and 1985. Other floods have occurred throughout the town's history.

Even though the residents of Badger are no strangers to flooding, nothing compares to the Feb. 15, 2003 event.

Exploits, Red Indian, and Badger are three rivers that intersect close to Badger. All three of the rivers were suddenly jammed with ice and they overflowed their banks by two and a half metres.

On that Saturday, residents woke up to their homes and cars completely submerged in water. Officials quickly declared a state of emergency.

Courtesy Government of Newfoundland & Labrador Courtesy Government of Newfoundland & Labrador

Many of the flooded homes lost power, so the water froze. Badger was essentially entombed in a block of ice. The town's sewer system failed, so their water supply became contaminated.

A few hundred homes were submerged in water as 1,200 people were evacuated from the town.

Courtesy Government of Newfoundland & Labrador Courtesy Government of Newfoundland & Labrador

Most people headed to two temporary shelters in Grand Falls-Windsor with only the freezing clothes on their back.

The Red Cross provided aid to all impacted families. They worked with the Department of Human Resources and Employment and the Salvation Army to provide the evacuees with food, clothing, personal care items, and vouchers to purchase other items they required.

One woman who was evacuated shared that the flood was "...devastating because everything you’ve worked for is gone." Though the town experienced unsalvagable loss, everyone was safe and the rescue mission was successful.

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Thumbnail courtesy of Government of Newfoundland & Labrador

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