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River crests expected early May

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WINNIPEG - The Red and Assiniboine rivers are expected to crest in Winnipeg within two days of each other between May 2 and May 5, Emergency Measures Minister Steve Ashton said in the legislature this afternoon.

The Red is expected to crest at 22.2 feet at James Avenue, he said, and both rivers will remain high for several days.

Evacuation centre opened

Winnipeg has opened an evacuation centre for people from rural Manitoba forced to leave their homes due to rising floodwater.

The reception centre is located at the Century Arena at 1377 Clarence Ave. The centre will be open Monday to Friday between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m.

This holiday weekend the centre will be open between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The city is encouraging evacuees to stay with family and friends, if possible. If you have arranged accommodation, there is no need to visit the reception centre unless you need immediate financial assistance.

It is important that evacuees register with the Red Cross, at 1-888-662-3211.

Flood Fight

Meanwhile, the number of Manitobans displaced by flooding has now reached 1,039, compared with 866 Wednesday, Ashton said.

The new evacuees include 166 medically vulnerable persons from Roseau River First Nation, he said.

The province also said today it will cover the full cost of well-water testing in flood-hit areas.

The chief provincial public health officer issued a boil water advisory April 8 for everyone who uses private water supplies including wells, cisterns or unfiltered surface-water sources before consumption, or use a safe alternative such as bottled water. Water should be boiled for at least one minute.

Once the flood waters recede, everyone with a private water supply affected by flooding should get a bacteria test done before resuming usual water consumption.

The province normally subsidizes bacteria testing for private well owners, but the well owner's share is being waived for the 2011 flood season with the province is paying the full cost for bacteria testing. Private well-water testing will be fully subsidized until June 30.

The province will put a Disaster Financial Assistance program in place to help people out-of-pocket because of this spring’s flooding, Emergency Measures Organization Minister Steve Ashton said Thursday.

"We will be making municipalities and individual homeowners and farms and businesses aware of that," Ashton said at the Thursday flood briefing for the media. "Clearly, we are going to looking at some significant damage."

For more information on how the program will work, go to the government’s website.

Also on the flood front today:

  • the Roseau River First Nation is evacuating 166 medically vulnerable and seniors because of flooded roads;
  • another 37 people have voluntarily evacuated from the RM of Montcalm and 13 from the RM of Ritchot, also because of restricted road access;
  • flood water has overtopped the sewage lagoon in Melita, and downstream communities have been notified;
  • dikes to protect St-Lazare are finished;
  • 20 cottages at Oak Lake are now being protection from rising water;
  • Amphibex ice-breaking machines are at The Pas in case of ice jams on the Carrot River;
  • the province warns with so much water on the Red and Assiniboine Rivers - peaks are expected between May 2 and 5 in Winnipeg - the potential exists for record total natural flow volumes at Selkirk.
  • the water level at James Avenue in Winnipeg have decreased 0.35 feet since Wednesday to 18.01 feet due to declining flows on the Assiniboine River.

History

Updated on Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 4:03 PM CDT: Adds information on Disaster Financial Assistance program.

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