Southwestern Manitoba prepares for floodwaters from Saskatchewan
WINNIPEG – States of emergency remain in effect in communities across southwestern Manitoba and people have been forced from their homes by flooding caused by recent rains.
The region braced Wednesday morning for water flowing from southwestern Saskatchewan, which has also been hit hard by flooding since the weekend. There were 34 Manitoba municipalities under a state of local emergency by 6:30 p.m. on Canada Day.
Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation warned that record flow levels have been recorded along 13 southern Manitoba rivers and streams, washing out roads and causing some evacuations.
Brandon, a city of 50,000 people 200 kilometres west of Winnipeg, is under a state of emergency as residents brace for an Assiniboine River crest expected to be higher than the spring peak.
Crews have been blocking sewer outflows, placing pumps along the city’s dike system and closed 18th Street N. at Grand Valley Road so it could be filled in with clay. Victoria Avenue E. was closed due to water over the road, although receding water allowed the city to reopen the airport.
Officials evacuated part of Virden, Man., about 70 kilometres west of Brandon, and issued voluntary evacuation orders to others near Scallion Creek on Canada Day. Rural Municipality of Wallace and Town of Virden officials “believe strongly that a very strong surge of water has the potential to come our way in the very near future,” a news release issued late Tuesday by Westman emergency co-ordinator Kel Smith said.
Highways and roads across southwestern Manitoba were closed or under cautions as floodwater washed over them. A full list can be found on the Manitoba road information webpage.
Flood warnings were also issued for all points along the Winnipeg River system, including along multiple tributaries.
Flood watches were issued for Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg, and high-water advisories were issued for all points along the Red, Souris and Saskatchewan rivers.
The provincial government also opened the Red River Floodway, which protects Winnipeg from flooding by diverting water around the city.
The Portage Diversion, which sends Assiniboine River water north to Lake Manitoba before it reaches Portage la Prairie, Man., and Winnipeg, is also in operation. The Fairford River Water Control Structure is moving water from Lake Manitoba to Lake St. Martin, where the Lake St. Martin Emergency Channel is being reopened to allow outflow from that lake.
© Shaw Media, 2014