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Southwestern Manitoba hardest hit by flooding

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Silverline Oil Field Services trucks pump water from the backyards of homes along Thomas Drive in Virden during continuing rainfall on Sunday morning. Virden and the RM of Wallace is just one of many RM's in southwestern Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan under states of emergency. Many oil and gas companies operating in the area called in their workers to help provide assistance to communities dealing with flooding.

TIM SMITH / BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

Silverline Oil Field Services trucks pump water from the backyards of homes along Thomas Drive in Virden during continuing rainfall on Sunday morning. Virden and the RM of Wallace is just one of many RM's in southwestern Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan under states of emergency. Many oil and gas companies operating in the area called in their workers to help provide assistance to communities dealing with flooding.

Thirty-one municipalities have declared local emergencies and more than 200 people have been evacuated as flooding continues to wreak havoc in large parts of Manitoba, according to Steve Ashton, Manitoba's minister of infrastructure and transportation.

The southwestern part of the province was one of the areas most impacted by overland flooding caused by heavy rain and storm that started on Friday and continued over the weekend.

"We're seeing record flows on many of the tributaries across the province. We're seeing some very significant flows, much greater than normal," Ashton said in a press conference.

Flood warnings have been issued for the Assiniboine River, from the Shellmouth Dam to Brandon, all points along the Winnipeg River system including Nutimik Lake, Lake St. Martin, Dauphin Lake, Qu'Appelle River, Vermillion River and Valley River near Dauphin, Medora Creek near Napinka, Gainsborough Creek near Lyleton, Gopher Creek near Virden, Roaring River at Minitonas, McKinnon Creek near McCreary, Scissor Creek near McCauley, Little Souris River near Brandon, Epinette Creek near Carberry, Graham Creek near Melita and the Little Saskatchewan River near River, according to a release by the province.

Flood watches have also been issued for Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg, with high water advisories for all points along the Red, Souris and Saskatchewan rivers.

Emergency procedures are being enacted, Ashton said. The province will open the Red River floodway at 9 a.m. tomorrow. The Portage diversion has already been opened. Construction will also begin on the Lake St. Martin emergency outlet channel on July 2, and will start taking water soon after, Ashton said.

Lee Spencer, executive director with the Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization, said anybody with damage should document it, as the province covers some costs of damage and repairs. Spencer said rather than wait, residents should photograph damage, repair it and keep track of their spending.

Because of road closures, the province is also asking travelers to call 511 to check on what roads are open before traveling.

The Red River is rising at all points, the release stated. The most recent recorded level at James Avenue today was 17 ft. It will keep rising to about 17.4 to 17.7 ft. during the week, and stay above 14 ft. until mid-July.

History

Updated on Monday, June 30, 2014 at 5:21 PM CDT: Adds update on Red River levels

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