April 28, 2014 10:11 am

Manitoba homes evacuated in preparation for anticipated flooding

Emergency officials prepare for flooding in Birtle, Man.

Province of Manitoba

Emergency officials have evacuated 18 homes in and around Birtle, Man., as residents wait for a sudden rush of water on Birdtail Creek.

There were also evacuations in Waywayseecappo First Nation, putting 20 people out of their homes.

The rural municipality of Rossburn, just east of Waywayseecappo, has declared a local state of emergency as a precautionary measure.

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An embankment holding back water on a creek that feeds into the Birdtail is about to give way, provincial flood officials warned. The breach will bring a rush of water down the Birdtail that will reach Waywayseecappo one to four hours after the release, and Birtle in nine to 12 hours.

Emergency officials evacuated 16 threatened homes in town and another two in the rural municipality of Birtle. Initially 12 homes were evacuated but a further six were evacuated Sunday afternoon.

Premier Greg Selinger is to tour the area Monday, meeting with media at 12:30 p.m. in Birtle.

The length of the evacuation is dependent on how long water remains high, provincial officials said.

Tiger Dams and earthen dikes are being used to protect properties, and Birtle’s Centre Street Bridge has been closed and weighted with concrete barriers as a precaution.

Only emergency officials are being allowed into evacuated areas.

The province has also closed Highway 45 from Highway 264 to Highway 476, with traffic being directed back to Highway 16.

Birtle is 285 kilometres west of Winnipeg. The town and rural municipality of Birtle have a population of about 1,300 people.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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