Flood fears easing in southern Manitoba as Assiniboine River level drops

Flood fears were easing in much of southern Manitoba Thursday, as the Assiniboine River started to subside near Portage la Prairie.

WINNIPEG — Flood fears were easing in much of southern Manitoba Thursday, as the Assiniboine River started to subside near Portage la Prairie.

“We have hit crest, the waters are declining. The good news really is the degree to which the preparation certainly is paying off,” the province’s Emergency Measures Minister Steve Ashton said six days after the province declared a state of emergency and called in the military.

Since last Friday, hundreds of thousands of sandbags have been placed around homes. Dikes and riverbanks were reinforced and monitored with high-tech surveillance equipment. Across the province, more than 700 people were forced out of their homes — the vast majority as a precaution due to the possibility their local roads might be washed out.

As the river crested near Portage overnight, both the Assiniboine River and the Portage diversion, a channel that diverts excess water from the river to Lake Manitoba, were near capacity. A small leak in a bank on the Assiniboine was detected and fixed, but other than that, the defences held. Evacuation orders in Delta Beach north of Portage la Prairie were lifted Thursday morning.

Manitoba often experiences some flooding in the spring as meltwater streams in from as far away as the Rockies. This year has been different in that flooding arose in the summer due to severe rainfall amounts upstream in Saskatchewan at the end of June.

The heavy rain has swollen rivers in rural areas and flooded farmland in the southwestern part of the province. It has also prompted the Assiniboine to rise again. A second crest was making its way down the river Thursday from the Saskatchewan boundary and had flooded three homes near St. Lazare, outside the community’s dike.

The second crest is forecast to hit Brandon on the weekend and be slightly higher than the initial crest but lower than the flood of 2011 that prompted hundreds of people to leave their low-lying homes in the province’s second-largest city.

Ashton said recent upgrades to Brandon’s dikes and other defences were expected to be more than enough to keep back the second crest.

“We’re essentially protecting to the flood of record, which is 2011, and we already have a lot of that in place.”

The second crest will not be much of a problem in Portage and other areas downstream from Brandon, Ashton said, because tributaries to the Assiniboine in the region have been dropping and the river has more room to absorb the extra flow.

Just Posted

Bystanders help Innisfail Mountie make arrest

A 35-year-old Ottawa man is facing a number of charges including resisting arrest

More supports for homeless needed for Red Deer

Provincial funding recently announced for Lethbridge

Second Central Alberta born jaguar dies

Mia’s brother Magnum dead at Discovery Wildlife Park

High profile individual delays UCP vote for Red Deer-South

Nomination vote to be held early in 2019

Police back mandatory alcohol screening

New legislation taking effect on Dec. 18 allows alcohol testing of all drivers legally stopped

Orlando SC acquires Canadian Tesho Akindele in trade with FC Dallas for cash

ORLANDO, Fla. — Canadian forward Tesho Akindele was traded to Orlando City… Continue reading

Koskinen notches third shutout, McDavid gets winner as Oilers blank Flames 1-0

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers appear to have shored up their defence… Continue reading

Beyonce performs at pre-wedding party in India

Beyonce brought her star power to a pre-wedding party for the daughter… Continue reading

Kirk Douglas celebrates 102nd birthday

LOS ANGELES — Actor Kirk Douglas got to celebrate his 102nd birthday… Continue reading

Ellen Page steps up attack on Nova Scotia pulp mill’s effluent pipeline

HALIFAX — Hollywood actor Ellen Page is doubling down on her criticism… Continue reading

Pence aide out of running to be Trump’s next chief of staff

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s top pick to replace chief of staff… Continue reading

Swath of South faces wintry mess: Snow, sleet, freezing rain

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A massive storm brought snow, sleet, and freezing rain… Continue reading

‘I killed my best friend’: Opioids’ fatal grip on mayor, pal

MOUNT CARBON, Pa. — Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old,… Continue reading

Most Read