The province will allow significantly more water to flow along the Assiniboine River east of Portage la Prairie than it had hoped, meaning some residents near Headingley and St. Francois Xavier will likely have to sandbag their properties.
Provincial flood officials Wednesday also didn’t rule out the need to operate the Portage Diversion at capacity in the coming days in order to deal with huge flows of water from eastern Saskatchewan and western Manitoba.
Right now the diversion is operating at a little over one-quarter of its capacity. The diversion, which channels water into Lake Manitoba, prevents massive flows of water from reaching Winnipeg and other communities downstream of Portage.
Meanwhile, the Assiniboine River at Brandon is expected to peak July 11 at comparable levels to the 2011 flood, officials told a flood briefing Wednesday afternoon.
The high water levels are the result of months of above-normal rainfall plus severe rainstorms in the eastern Prairies in recent days.
The province said about 250 people were evacuated — mainly in southwestern Manitoba — in recent days, bringing the total displaced by flooding to 500 in 2014.
Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation reports that 72 sections of provincial roads have been affected by heavy rains.
A helicopter has been deployed in the Brandon area to rescue rural residents who find themselves cut off due to road closures.