Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Flooding forces evacuations, highway closure in western Manitoba

Interlake residents also forced to leave homes

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Provincial worker Airell Klassen (left) shows Mike Fulcher and Dwayne Hohmann of the Birtle Fire Department how to set up Tiger Dams in Birtle Saturday evening. The dams have been used to protect homes and infrastructure in Birtle from the rising Birdtail creek.

TIM SMITH / BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

Provincial worker Airell Klassen (left) shows Mike Fulcher and Dwayne Hohmann of the Birtle Fire Department how to set up Tiger Dams in Birtle Saturday evening. The dams have been used to protect homes and infrastructure in Birtle from the rising Birdtail creek.

Several communities in western Manitoba are preparing for evacuations because an embankment holding back water on a tributary of the Birdtail Creek is failing, the province said Sunday.

Its failure will result in a surge of water that will affect communities downstream, including the Waywayseecappo First Nation, the town of Birtle and the Birdtail Sioux Nation.

The province said water may flood roads in the area and there could be damage to bridges in Birtle.

Public alerts have been issued and residents in low-lying areas have been told to leave their homes.

In the Birtle area, that includes 12 homes.

RCMP say 20 residents of Waywayseecappo affected by possible flooding were told to leave Saturday night as a precaution.

Residents of Birtle, Miniota and Rossburn who are at risk are in the process of leaving their homes, the province said Sunday.

Provincial Highway 45 has been closed between the junctions of PR 264 and PR 476. Traffic is being rerouted to the Yellowhead Highway.

On Saturday, Manitoba's Emergency Measures Organization descended on Birtle as the town braced for possible flooding. 

EMO workers and volunteer firefighters started setting up aqua dikes and the down placed five concrete barriers on a midtown bridge to hold it down.

Also in western Manitoba, Roblin declared a state of local emergency in order to deal with overland flooding caused by spring runoff.

Minnedosa is monitoring flooding in low-lying areas within the town and has added additional flood protection to its existing dikes, the province said.

Rain is in the forecast for western Manitoba, beginning Saturday evening, and it's expected to continue falling into Monday. The Manitoba government said officials will continue to monitor the situation and factor precipitation levels into future forecasts.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 27, 2014 A3

History

Updated on Sunday, April 27, 2014 at 11:00 AM CDT: Adds Manitoba government news release information Sunday at 11 a.m.

12:00 PM: Adds 11 homes in Birtle area evacuated.

3:29 PM: Adds details from 3:30 news release

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