Manitoba keeps close eye on 'unprecedented' flooding
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Sunday, April 17, 2011 12:25PM EDT
Manitoba authorities expect the Red and Assiniboine River water levels to drop near Winnipeg Sunday, as residents continue to prepare for further fallout from some of the worst flooding the province has ever faced.
Intensive flooding has already washed out dozens of roads and hundreds of municipal highways, while forcing hundreds to flee their homes because of overflowing creeks and rivers.
Manitoba Water Stewardship official Steve Topping said the spread of this year's flooding is "unprecedented," with water covering land all the way from the Saskatchewan border across to eastern Manitoba. Flooding has also occurred as far north as The Pas, as well down at the U.S. border.
Topping said it is possible that "a long period of flooding" may result from a combination of the very-high water levels and recent snowfall, but it not yet clear exactly how that will pan out.
But many long-time Manitobans like farmer Eric Bergmann of St. Adolphe, just south of Winnipeg, have a good idea of what kind of problems they may face in the weeks ahead.
Bergmann had to move 3,000 hogs to dry land when the Red River flowed onto his farm during the so-called Flood of the Century in 1997.
He wonders if he will have to do the same thing this time around, but has so far been told to wait to see how the flooding situation evolves.
"Last week, we were told: Hang tight for a while, don't do it just yet. And so that's what we're doing now," Bergmann told CTV Winnipeg.
"We're just monitoring on a daily basis to see what's happening."
In the case of St. Adolphe, a protective ring dike has been closed off to protect the town from possible flooding.
But several other Manitoba communities have already faced flooding threats, which has led to nearly 700 evacuations.
A half-hour north of St. Adolphe in Winnipeg, city officials were confident that the swelling Red River would not pose a threat to their flood preparation activities over the weekend. An ice-jam on the Assiniboine River had caused water levels to rise on Saturday, but officials expected they would drop down on Sunday.
The Red River is currently cresting in North Dakota. Its crest is expected to cross over into Canada next weekend and to reach Winnipeg in the first days of May.
Flooding also remains a concern in Saskatchewan, where water from the Que'Appelle River was only a few centimeters away from the top of the southbound section of Highway 11 on Saturday afternoon. The Moose Jaw River was also expected to rise over the weekend.
With files from The Canadian Press and a report from CTV Winnipeg's Caroline Barghout