Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Waves threaten Dauphin Lake area

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RESIDENTS along the southern part of Dauphin Lake are dreading a forecast north wind will further flood already waterlogged communities over the next three days.

Cottages and homes along the southern shore of Dauphin Lake have been evacuated as the water reaches levels a foot greater than the recorded historic high.

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"Worst-case scenario, weather conditions might lead us another foot higher than that," said Clinton Cleave, the reeve of the RM of Ochre River.

Monday's calm weather could give way to 40- to 70 kilometre-per-hour winds from the northeast for the next three days, according to data from Manitoba Water Stewardship.

Owners of 50 homes on Crescent Cove Beach area were ordered to evacuate on Saturday and between 100 and 150 additional homes are under a precautionary evacuation order with homeowners preparing to leave at a moment's notice.

Ochre Beach residents Germaine and René Gendreau have spent the past three weeks sandbagging only to watch their efforts destroyed as lake waters overtook their dikes again and again.

"This is a lake that has never ever gone this high before," said Germaine. "(René) has known this beach for 70 years, and he has never seen the water come high like this before."

The Gendreaus watched as their neighbours left their homes, but so far they haven't been ordered to leave.

Valhop Drive cottager Lesley Trudel is among those who were ordered to leave their properties on Saturday.

"We are actually in jeopardy of having the water lap into the cottage from wave action," said Trudel, whose cottage has been in the family since 1958.

"It's just devastating -- that's the only word I can find for it."

Dauphin Lake RCMP Sgt. Brian Brewer confirmed police have been working in the area to assist evacuees.

meghan.potkins@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 7, 2011 A3

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