Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Peguis gets $1.5M for flood

-- Second-worst levels on record -- Cold weather to delay melt

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Peguis First Nation, the community hit hardest by flooding so far this spring, received $1.5 million from the province Friday to help it in its flood fight.

Emergency Measures Organization Minister Steve Ashton said the money will be used to help the community buy more flood-fighting equipment to protect homes, businesses and roads.

As of today, 543 of 647 Manitobans displaced by flooding are from Peguis, which is on the Fisher River about 200 kilometres north of Winnipeg. Most people were removed as a precautionary measure because of flooded-out roads.

"Peguis is faced with the immediate situation with the river, but the real concern is the potential for significant overland flood particularly... if there is any significant rain," Ashton said, adding in 2009 about 400 Peguis homes were affected by overland flooding.

Premier Greg Selinger toured the community Friday with Peguis Chief Glenn Hudson.

Ashton also repeated a plea he made Thursday that Ottawa needs to help Peguis find a way to deal with spring and summer flooding. As a First Nation, Peguis falls under federal jurisdiction.

Ottawa has committed to move 70 flood-prone homes, Ashton said.

He also said, based on the scale of this year's flood, it will be the second-worst since 1852, coming in below 1997 Flood of the Century.

"I don't think Manitobans will forget 1997 for many years, but I want to stress in 1997 we weren't dealing with the Assiniboine, we weren't dealing with the extensive overland flooding to much of the province," he said.

Also on the flood front, officials said colder weather and snow this weekend will delay the spring melt, and they will re-evaluate early next week the impact of that extra precipitation on flood levels.

They said river levels remain high across western Manitoba and the Red and Assiniboine rivers are expected to rise more in the next few days.

There are 72 sections of road affected by flood waters, with 37 roads closed or limited to local traffic and 24 under caution or that have one-lane of traffic. St. Mary's Road south of Winnipeg is down to one lane and Highway 75 at Morris remain open.

Red River water levels at Emerson increased 0.52 feet since Thursday.

The Red River crested at Grand Forks, N.D., Thursday at just under 50 feet, the third-highest measurement on record. North of Grand Forks, the Red has spread out across regions reaching almost 13 kilometres wide in some areas.

The crest is to hit Winnipeg late in the month or early May.

In Winnipeg, water levels at James Avenue are 18.97 feet. Flows are forecast to increase over the next few days due to higher water on the Assiniboine River.

Flood Roundup

Western Manitoba

FLOOD preparedness at St. Lazare will be completed in the next few days to ensure the community is protected from expected high flows on the Qu'Appelle and Assiniboine rivers.

At Spruce Woods Provincial Park Thursday, the HESCO cage barrier dikes placed along Provincial Trunk Highway 5 were overtopped by a significant rise of water from an ice jam on the Assiniboine River. Flood waters hit a number of areas of the campground, including washroom facilities. The park's main interpretive centre and some other buildings were not affected.

A flood watch has been issued for the Assiniboine River downstream of Russell to Brandon and a flood warning has been issued for the Pembina River for Rock Lake and downstream. Water levels on Rock Lake on the Pembina River system reached a historical high level Thursday. The outlet from Pelican Lake has been closed since April 8. However, Pelican Lake levels were expected to reach 1,352.7 feet late Friday and, as required in the operating rules in the Environment Act licence, the outlet will be operated to increase outflow from Pelican Lake. High flows are expected to be sustained for an extended period of time.

A flood watch has also been issued for the Whitemud River in Gladstone area.

Flows in the Souris River remain high and appear to have crested in the Wawanesa area. High flows are expected to be sustained for an extended period of time.



A clay dike on the east side of Ashern is being reinforced and 20 homes with limited access are being sandbagged and provided with pumps to battle overland flooding and frozen ditches.


Red River Valley

ONE family has moved away from the RM of Ritchot after losing road access from their property due to overland flooding.

Highway 75 at Morris remains open, but will close when water crosses the highway at the Morris Bridge. The upper level of the forecast range for the Red River remains somewhat above 2009 levels for most points on the river.


-- Source: Government of Manitoba

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 16, 2011 A4

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