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St. Andrews declares state of emergency

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The R.M. of St. Andrews has declared a state of emergency, Reeve Don Forfar said.

"It's more preparatory, rather than necessary. It grants us the power to do things such as access property," he said.

"This ice jam may continue to get worse. The river is rising (here) several inches an hour."

One home has been inundated by the Red River, north of Selkirk due to ice jam-induced flooding.

And the province said this afternoon the Red River Floodway could be activated as early as this evening.

Spokesman Steve Topping said raising the control gates is currently being assessed.

Waterstewardship Minister Christine Melnick also issued a plea for volunteer sandbaggers.

Officials added Hwy. 75 will likely be closed at Morris due to flooding in two to four days.

Earlier today, ice jams in the Breezy Point area led river levels to exceed banks overnight, said Darcy Hardman, emergency measures co-ordinator for the Rural Municipality of St. Andrews.

One home was lost just south of McIvor Lane at about 6 a.m. this morning, Hardman said.

At about 10 p.m. last night, rising water levels led crews to employ tiger dams -- water-filled tubes -- and pumps in an attempt to save the property. At about 4 a.m., they believed they had won the fight.

"We had it looking pretty good," said Hardman. "But then we had another surge of water."

At the scene of the flood burst, mere metres north from a submerged bridge, the flooded house sat empty this morning, surrounded by a bright orange dike.

Emergency workers standing watch at the scene said water had surged into the home's basement, but did not consider the property "lost."

Across the road, Don McDougall fired up an aluminum motorboat to putter from his house, which was surrounded by water, to the road. He was joined by a handful of neighbours, cracking jokes and watching the water.

The residents said they weren't much worried about the water. "Something happens every year or two," McDougall said.

Still, many were surprised when emergency crews showed up early this morning to fight back the flood.

"We didn't expect this to happen so quickly," said Ervin Kaziw, who was worried about the fate of his motorcycles stuck in a garage on the other side of the flooded bridge.

Emergency workers from the Clandeboye Fire Department were on scene to help in case any homeowners needed to be evacuated.

Another property on the east of the Red River, in the R.M. of St. Clements, is also being threatened.

The Red River is also flooding over Provincial Road 320, which makes travel to Breezy Point possible but not advisable, Hardman said.

The Breezy Point area was hardest hit by ice jam-induced severe flooding in 2009.



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Updated on Friday, April 8, 2011 at 9:12 AM CDT: Updated with new information

11:56 AM: Adds information from scene.

12:43 PM: Adds comment from Premier Selinger.

1:40 PM: State of emergency declared.

2:34 PM: Gates on the floodway may be activated as early as this evening.

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