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Looking back at the Flood of the Century that devastated Ste. Agathe, Man.

Click to play video 'Looking back at the Flood of the Century that devastated St. Agathe, Man.' Looking back at the Flood of the Century that devastated St. Agathe, Man.
Archival footage showing the devastating impact of the Red River, as the town of Ste. Agathe, Man., was swallowed by the flood waters.

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.

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Every home was damaged as the river swept through the community.

The river rapidly flows over highways and railroad tracks protecting the town.
The river rapidly flows over highways and railroad tracks protecting the town. Global News / Archived
The river flooded the town overnight.
The river flooded the town overnight. Global News / Archived
Many businesses and homes had to sandbag around their property.
Many businesses and homes had to sandbag around their property. Global News / Archived
Many volunteers helped to try and save the community.
Many volunteers helped to try and save the community. Global News / Archived
Global News / Archived
Water rushes into Ste. Agathe, destroying the community.
Water rushes into Ste. Agathe, destroying the community. Global News / Archived
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Global News / Archived

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.

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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.

READ MORE: 1997 Flood: Z Dike saves Winnipeg, farmland still not recovered 20 years later

Here is a look at the timeline of 1997 flood events.