Brandon weathers floods, fire and raging storm

WINNIPEG – The City of Brandon emerged bruised but unbeaten after a night that saw flood waters creep toward record levels, a violent storm added more water and blew down trees, and crews struggled to douse a major fire.

“Flood, wind, hail, fire. Someone will keep me posted if the locusts descend?” Brandon Mayor Shari Decter Hirst quipped on Twitter Sunday morning.

The city of about 50,000 people, 200 kilometres west of Winnipeg, was already on edge as the rising Assiniboine River was forecast to reach its peak Saturday night at levels similar to the benchmark 2011 flood.

City officials said Sunday morning that all dikes had held, even though the dumping of rain the night before raised the river level even higher and possibly delayed the crest.

“The storm did not impact the dikes,” city official Brian Kayes told reporters at a briefing at Brandon city hall Sunday morning.

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Water washes over First Street in Brandon, Man., on Saturday. Ashley Carter / Global News

The Assiniboine measured Sunday morning at 1182.64 feet, up three inches from the night before and only slightly below the 2011 level.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper toured the area Sunday.

Flood waters did force officials to close Highway 110, from the Trans-Canada Highway to Richmond Avenue in Brandon, due to water on the road.

Crews were also faced with a major cleanup job after a summer storm over night that saw winds close to 100 km/h and rain that flooded some streets. Several areas of the city and surrounding area were also without power.

READ MORE: Land-owners oppose plan to deliberately breach dike

“Massive amount of damage in the cemetery this morning from last night’s storm. Dozens of trees uprooted,” Decter Hirst tweeted. Officials said 38 millimetres of rain fell in the south end of the city but there were areas where the total was likely much higher.

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In the middle of all the weather-related chaos, a major fire kept emergency crews busy. The blaze on 10th Street reportedly destroyed two restaurants and sent flames shooting high in the air.

A fire tears through Brandon businesses on Saturday night. Twitter/@nathanpeto

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