Twenty years ago, the residents of Ste. Agathe, Man., were forced to watch from a distance as the Red River swallowed their homes, cars and farms.
It was the first town to lose its battle with Manitoba’s Flood of the Century.
On April 29, 1997, the town of more than 300 people were forced to flee their homes. Ste. Agathe sits on the west bank of the Red River and was protected by a partial dike running along the river edge. But in the middle of the night, it was flooded by a wall of water that rushed in from the opposite direction.
“No one expected to have the water come from that end of town,” the town’s former reeve, Bob Stefaniuk said.
The strong winds from the northwest also flooded the water over roads and highways.
Every home was damaged as the river swept through the community.
The devastation came more than a week after the dike system in Grand Forks, N.D. succumbed by the Red River, forcing more than 40,000 people homes and causing billions of dollars in damage.
READ MORE: Timeline of 1997 flood in Grand Forks
The surreal sight of a flooded downtown Grand Forks, and a Manitoba town destroyed by the Red River, was a grim warning to Winnipeggers destructive power the river could soon unleash on the city.
WATCH: Community volunteers tirelessly work to save houses and businesses from flooding
Over the next few weeks Global News will release more archival videos, pictures and stories of the flood that transformed the future of our city and province.
Global News will also be live Wednesday at 6 p.m., at Ste. Agathe, looking at how the community had transformed since the flood.
Here is a look at the timeline of 1997 flood events.