Flooding Conditions Impacting Manitoba

Manitoba Premier and officials brief public on flood conditions
Manitoba Premier and officials brief public on flood conditions

Manitoba Premier and officials brief public on flood conditions
Manitoba Premier and officials brief public on flood conditions
WINNIPEG – The province of Manitoba is expecting flood conditions along the waterways, in particular the Assiniboine River to climb through the day.

The provincial government has activated all possible resources to seek to minimize potential damage caused by flooding, as water overflows from recent storms continue to move downstream from Saskatchewan.

Members of the Canadian military are working to assist in Manitoba. Members of the 1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, who are based out of CFB Shilo, are helping with sandbagging efforts in Portage La Prairie.

The Premier has ordered a controlled breach of the Assiniboine River dike, in the same location at during the last flood. The goal is to lesson the potential danger to homes in Brandon.

The river is expected to crest in Brandon today, and in Portage La Prairie on Monday, then onward toward Winnipeg later in the week. The Red River Floodway is in operation and should help lessen flooding impact in Winnipeg.

Part of the situation is that in Manitoba, if the river crests its banks, the prairie terrain allows water to flow as it wishes, with little to slow it down.

Lower Assiniboine River

  • Work is underway on three fronts to prepare for and manage high flows on the lower Assiniboine River between the Portage Diversion and Headingley.
  • The work is being done in partnership with provincial government staff and contractors, local municipalities and the Canadian Armed Forces.
  • Assiniboine River Dikes
    • Crews are addressing 12 areas to reinforce the dikes over the next two days.
    • Three provincial sandbag machines are in the area producing sandbags needed to reinforce the dikes.
    • Canadian Armed Forces personnel are beginning to arrive and are supporting sandbag and other reinforcement work now underway.
    • Dikes will be monitored on a 24-hour basis.
    • The dikes are being reinforced to handle 18,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) over the next several days.
    • Approximately 200 homes along the dikes are being protected.  Many homes and farms have dikes in place from 2011 or dikes that were built since the 2011 flood.
  • Portage Diversion
    • Work is continuing at the Portage Diversion including reinforcing and topping up the dikes along the channel.
    • This work will allow the diversion to handle flows of 34,000 cfs.
    • Some water will flow through the failsafe, particularly near Lake Manitoba.  This is part of normal operations when flows are high.
  • Hoop and Holler Controlled Release
    • The controlled release will only be used if high flows pose a serious risk of a potential uncontrolled breach along the Assiniboine River dikes.
    • Work is underway to prepare the area where the release will be made.
    • Approximately 150 homes in the potential inundation zone are being protected.
  • The controlled release is a safety valve for the Assiniboine River flows to ensure communities and homes are protected.
  • The release of up to 5,000 cfs would direct water into the La Salle watershed near Elm River, the Elm River Channel, the Elm River Relief Channel, the Scott Coulee, the Scott Drain and the La Salle River downstream of the Elie dam and reservoir.
  • As the crest is likely to be very sharp and of short duration, the Hoop and Holler controlled release point may only be use for one to two days.
  • The use of the Hoop and Holler controlled release will depend on the capacity of the Portage Diversion and Assiniboine River dikes east of Portage la Prairie, along with future weather and forecast updates.
  • Similar to the 2011 flood, approximately 150 homes in the potential inundation zone are being protected in case the controlled release is required.
  • There will be limited access to these areas while crews are working and access to overhead airspace will be limited.
  • Assistance will be available to help residents who may be affected by flooding caused by this controlled release.

Situation Update

  • Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation’s Hydrologic Forecast Centre reports the wind forecast for tomorrow results in a high wind warning for the south shore of Lake Winnipeg and a
    moderate-high wind warning for the south shoreline of Lake Manitoba.

    • The winds on Lake Winnipeg could increase water levels by three to five feet in the south basin of the lake along with significant wave action on southern shorelines.
    • The winds on Lake Manitoba could increase water levels by two to three feet in the south basin of the lake along with considerable wave action on southern shorelines.
  • The Manitoba government has set up a command post near Portage la Prairie to support local municipalities and the efforts to reinforce the Assiniboine River dikes.
  • A provincial state of emergency was declared yesterday and affects the city of Portage la Prairie and the rural municipalities of Portage la Prairie, Cartier, St. François Xavier, Headingley, and the municipalities of Grey and MacDonald will be added.  The province will assist municipalities and property owners, who are advised to prepare for 2011 levels plus one foot.
  • The province is developing a list of provincial employees to volunteer to assist in the flood-fighting efforts.  Volunteers can connect with their department contacts.
  •  There will be considerable activity along the dikes and diversion.  Residents are advised to be cautious and watch for heavy equipment moving in the areas around the dikes.
  • Manitobans are strongly advised to stay away from flooded areas to ensure their safety.

Emergency Response

  • A mobile recovery office will be set up in communities in the southwest area of Manitoba beginning with the town of Virden.  Staff will be available to answer questions and take applications for disaster financial assistance.
  • The mobile recovery office will be open from tomorrow to July 8 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  The office will be located in the parking lot of 236 Wellington St. W (Town of Virden Office) in Virden.
  • As of this morning, approximately 920 people have evacuated their homes and communities due to flooding in 2014.  This includes approximately 160 evacuees from two communities due to spring flooding.
  • While no evacuations are underway at this time, the City of Brandon has issued a pre-evacuation notice for residents in at-risk areas north and south of the river.  If needed, evacuation centres will be located at the Assiniboine Community College North Hill Campus and the Keystone Centre.
  • While no evacuations are underway at this time, the Rural Municipality of Portage la Prairie has issued a precautionary notice of the possible evacuation of 20 properties on Hackberry Avenue Far West at Delta on the south shore of Lake Manitoba.
  • As of Friday morning, 50 municipalities and communities have declared a state of local emergency.  New declarations include the rural municipality of Silver Creek, St. Laurent and
    the O-Chi-Chak-Ko Sipi First Nation.
  • Several flood warnings, watches and high water advisories remain in place.  A new flood watch has been issued for the Assiniboine River from the Portage Diversion to Headingley.  The flood warning for streams and trains in the Parkland region has been lowered to a flood watch.
  • STARS will be used to respond to medical emergencies in the flood zone and has resumed
    inter-facility transfers today to support flood operations.
  • A rescue helicopter from Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship is on standby in Brandon to undertake rescues as needed.  Since the helicopter arrived Tuesday afternoon, it has not flown any rescue missions.
  • In addition, the Office of the Fire Commissioner has deployed a water rescue team in Brandon to support emergency water rescues.

Assiniboine River

  • The Assiniboine River at Brandon is forecast to peak at 34,000 to 35,000 cfs near midnight tonight.  The peak water flow at Brandon during the 2011 flood was 36,730 cfs.  The permanent flood protection dikes built following the 2011 flood are designed to provide adequate flood protection for the current forecast levels.
  • A second crest of approximately 31,000 cfs is expected on the Assiniboine River at Brandon around July 17.
  • The City of Brandon is taking steps to reduce the effects of flooding in the community.
  • The Assiniboine River at the Portage Reservoir is forecast to peak at 51,000 to 52,000 cfs on or around July 8 to 9, assuming ideal weather.
  • The Portage Diversion is operating, with flows on the Assiniboine River above the diversion at 27,970 cfs.  The diversion is currently redirecting 17,335 cfs and flows on the Assiniboine River downstream of the diversion are 10,600 cfs.  Flows are being increased to 13,000 cfs today.
  • There is overbank flooding in the Assiniboine River valley between the Shellmouth Dam and Brandon.
  • The water level on the Shellmouth Reservoir has increased to 1,413.1 feet.  Inflows to the reservoir are approximately 11,940 cfs today while outflows from the reservoir are approximately 8,080 cfs.
  • The Shellmouth Reservoir water levels are forecast to peak at approximately 1,416.9 ft. on
    July 12.

Assiniboine River Tributaries

  • Flows on the Qu’Appelle River are starting to increase again as more water moves through the system.
  • Water levels and flows on the Souris River is near crest at Melita.  Water levels rose by 0.2 ft. at the town of Souris and by 0.2 ft. at Wawanesa.  Manitoba government staff are working with local officials to make appropriate preparations.
  • The forecast peak at the town of Souris tomorrow will be at 16,000 to 17,000 cfs and a water level of 1,357.5 to 1,358.2 ft.
  • The forecast peak at Wawanesa is 15,120 cfs and a water level of 1,155 to 1,155.5 ft. between today and tomorrow.
  • Whitewater Lake is at a historic high of 1,633.5 ft.

Eastern Manitoba

  • The Winnipeg River system is experiencing very high flows due to significantly higher-than-normal precipitation in eastern Manitoba and northwest Ontario.
  • Water levels at Nutimik Lake dropped slightly to 908.3 ft.

Parkland Region

  • Water levels on the Swan River at the town of Swan River crested yesterday at levels similar to what was experienced in 2006.
  • Permanent flood protection dikes are providing adequate protection.  Manitoba government staff is working with local officials to monitor the situation.
  • Current levels on Dauphin Lake are 859.7 ft.  The forecast peak water level on Dauphin Lake is 860 to 860.4 ft., due to recent rains.  The peak water level in 2011 was 861.14 ft.
  • Flood stage on Dauphin Lake is 858 ft. and the summer target level is 855 ft.

Lake Manitoba

  • The forecast peak water level on Lake Manitoba is 814.6 ft. in early August.
  • Operation of the Lake St. Martin Emergency Outlet Channel will increase outflow from Lake St. Martin and help to indirectly lower levels on Lake Manitoba.
  • This will also allow the Fairford River Water Control Structure to remain completely open longer, allowing for higher outflows from Lake Manitoba later in the year.
  • The initial discharge through the Lake St. Martin Emergency Outlet Channel will be approximately 5,600 cfs.  The channel is expected to stay open until the spring of 2015.

Red River

  • The crest on the Red River is nearing St. Agathe.
  • The Red River decreased slightly to 17.2 ft. today at James Avenue in Winnipeg and is expected to remain above 14 ft. until mid-July.

Stress and Anxiety Resources

  • The scale and scope of the summer flood is very challenging for affected Manitoba families.  There are resources to help deal with stress and anxiety which result from crisis situations.
  • Resources are available at www.gov.mb.ca/flooding/managing_stress.html.

Road Information

  • Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation reports sections of many provincial roads have been affected by the heavy rainfall and some roads are either closed or marked with caution.  Municipal roads may also be affected, closed or have load limitations.  Drive with caution and obey road closed signs.
  • For current highway conditions, call 511, visit www.manitoba.ca, www.mb511.ca or follow the Twitter account at www.twitter.com/MBGovRoads.

Up-to-date flood information can be found at www.gov.mb.ca/flooding/, on mobile devices at www.manitoba.ca or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MBGov.

Manitobans can also contact Manitoba Government Inquiry from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., seven days a week at 1-866-626-4862.

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