Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Flooding may cause detours at border

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PLANNING a cross-border car trip in the next month?

Watch for detour signs.

The province's most recent flood forecast calls for the possibility the Emerson border crossing and sections of I-29 in North Dakota could be under water when the Red River rises in the next month, provincial officials said Friday.

The crossing at Gretna may also be closed.

Highway 75 will also be closed because of flooding at Morris. A detour was in place for 36 days in 2009 and 44 days in 1997.

Most residents within the 18 ring-diked communities south of Winnipeg should still have road access, as dikes are forecast to only partially close. They include Emerson, Gretna, Letellier, Rosenfeld, Dominion City, St. Jean Baptiste, Riverside, Rosenort, St-Pierre-Jolys, Aubigny, Morris, Roseau River, Lowe Farm, Ste. Agathe, Brunkild, St. Adolphe, Niverville and Grande Pointe.

The province said Thursday it's planning for flooding to be one foot higher than during the last major flood along the Red River in 2009.

In 2009, 250 homes in the Red River Valley were evacuated, with 1,409 people registering with the Red Cross. There were also an additional 800 evacuees from Roseau River First Nation.

Provincial officials have an additional 1,800 properties on the Red River on a watch list, of which some may need to evacuate if access roads are flooded. Evacuations, if they happen, will be staged so people will have warning and time to leave.

Community dikes are built to protect to two feet above the flood of 1997. Ring dikes and other forms of flood works protect 95 per cent of the homes, businesses and farms in the Red River Valley.

Outside the dikes, Manitoba Agriculture will help producers, railways and grain handlers to remove crops and feed from low-lying, flood-prone areas. It will also help in moving farm equipment and material property to higher ground.

Spring road restrictions may be modified if necessary so producers can move their grain out of potential flood areas.

The province will also work with individual producers so plans are in place to move animals if necessary. The Animal Evacuation Committee will work with other government departments and partner agencies to develop plans for evacuated companion animals.

bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 20, 2013 A13

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