The Red River in downtown Winnipeg was expected to start falling late Thursday after cresting at 22.53 feet at James Avenue earlier in the day. The crest arrived two days sooner than anticipated because of earlier-than-expected ice movement on the Assiniboine River. Mayor Sam Katz signed an order declaring a state of emergency for some low-lying portions of the city on Thursday. Declaring a state of emergency allows the city to carry out mandatory evacuations in the event conditions change quickly, Katz said.
The province again partially raised the gates to divert water into the floodway Thursday morning after the wave of Assiniboine River ice and water hit Winnipeg.
Assiniboine River levels within the city are falling after cresting Thursday as the benefits of the Portage Diversion kick in.
Crest forecasts from Ste. Agathe to the floodway inlet were lowered by about half a foot Thursday. Crest forecasts from Emerson to Morris remained unchanged. The crest was expected to hit Emerson and Letellier on Thursday.
Partial ring dike closures were carried out in Niverville and Gretna. Partial closures were already in place at Emerson, Dominion City, Letellier, Roseau River, St. Jean Baptiste, Morris, Rosenort, Aubigny, Grande Pointe, Brunkild, Ste. Agathe and St. Adolphe. The community of Riverside is fully closed.
Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization staff will be available at the Selkirk Civic Centre April 21-24 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. to help residents in flood-damaged areas north of Winnipeg fill out applications for disaster financial assistance. The forms are available from municipal councils.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the cities of Fargo, N.D., and Moorhead, Minn., announced Thursday they will hold public meetings next month on a feasibility study for reducing flood risk in the southern Red River Valley.
As of Thursday evening, three Winnipeg properties had been evacuated, including one Turnbull Drive home. Christie Road in South St. Vital and several homes on Bonner Avenue in North Kildonan also remain under voluntary evacuation orders.
The Rural Municipality of St. Adolphe issued a voluntary evacuation order to 100 residents outside of the ring dike who will be isolated by flood waters. About 40 residents of the St. Adolphe Personal Care Home were moved to Winnipeg as a precautionary measure.
An unprecedented ice jam on the Icelandic River at Riverton triggered the evacuation Wednesday night of about 85 people who live along the river. The ice later began to break up on its own and water levels dropped quickly. No homes were flooded.
The Manitoba Association of Native Fire Fighters has helped with the evacuation at Peguis First Nation by moving 175 people. Another 225 medically vulnerable people from Fisher River First Nation are also being moved.
Close to 488 residents of evacuated Roseau River remain in Winnipeg and 60 Sioux Valley residents are still out of their homes.
At Brokenhead First Nation, four families had to leave their homes because of an ice jam. The jam has now broken and levels are subsiding.
A reception centre for evacuees has been established at the Century Arena at 1377 Clarence Ave. in Winnipeg. The reception centre is hosted by the city, the province, the Red Cross, Salvation Army and St. John Ambulance. Evacuees are encouraged to stay with family and friends and asked to register by calling the Canadian Red Cross Registration and Family Reunification line at 1-888-662-3211.
Little or no rain is expected over southern Manitoba over the next five days. The U.S. portions of the Red and Souris rivers are also expected to receive little rain.
Quote of the day:
"I felt I should go to bed with water wings."
-- Annabelle Stokes, who lives in Winnipeg along the Assiniboine River