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Dikes hold during Assiniboine River crest

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RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Heavy rains in western Manitoba and Saskatchewan recently have raised the level of the Assiniboine River, causing it to overflow its banks, flooding roads and farmers' fields. Aerial photo of bridge over the Portage diversion dam just west of town where water is diverted north to Lake Manitoba.

The worst of this summer’s flooding is passing down the Assiniboine River with a cautious optimism settling in — for now.

At a noon briefing, provincial officials said the crest on the Assiniboine River at the Portage Reservoir crested at midnight last night at 52,100 cubic feet per second (cfs).

Flows on the Portage Diversion are about 34,100 cfs and the flow on the Assiniboine River downstream of the diversion is 18,000 cfs. Flows on the Assiniboine River between Portage la Prairie and Headingley are expected to stay at about 18,000 cfs for several days with a new forecast for a second crest at the Portage Reservoir calling for a peak flow between 46,000 and 47,500 cfs July 14 to 16.

Only one section of dike west of St. Francois Xavier showed signs overnight of minor seepage, which was picked up by a Canadian Forces Aurora surveillance aircraft. Work to shore up the dike started this morning.

The province also said it’s still unlikely a controlled release will take place at the Hoop and Holler bend unless the dikes cannot safely contain the flow. The site remains ready to use should there be an urgent need to release water from the Assiniboine to reduce pressure on the dikes.

Meanwhile, the Rural Municipality of Portage la Prairie has lifted its mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders for Delta Beach along the diversion. Over the next few hours, some of the 500 military personnel deployed Saturday to sandbag homes will return to base.

Flood fighters are now watching what’s happening on the upper Assiniboine and Qu’Appelle rivers to the west, and the building of a second crest.

A revised forecast for the second peak in Brandon shows levels could be above Sunday's first peak of 34,330 cfs, but below the 2011 levels of 36,730 cfs. Predicted peak flows of between 34,000 and 36,000 cfs are expected to last for a day or two between today and July 13.

 

The higher water in the west damaged nine homes in St. Lazare that are outside the community’s ring dike. A 35-person team of redeployed forest firefighters are on the way to St. Lazare to assist with the flood situation and the province has asked for a report on why the homes did not have adequate protection.

As of this morning, 56 municipalities and communities are still under local states of emergency.

History

Updated on Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 2:39 PM CDT: corrects peak flows in Brandon

3:20 PM: updates predicted peak flows in Portage and Brandon

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