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South of Lake Manitoba, cottagers say goodbye to summer homes

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TWIN LAKES BEACH -- Pounding waves, an Arctic-like wind and freezing rain blowing off Lake Manitoba today greeted cottagers who are quickly emptying possessions from their summer homes.

Many expect this will be the last time they see their cottages, as Lake Manitoba is expected to swallow them in a matter of days.

"We're done," one man said as he filled up a trailer with furniture. "We have no choice. There is nothing we can do."

Only a handful of cottagers are trying to sandbag, but a few bags aren't expected to stop the waves from smashing into the shore and cabins.

Foy and Doris Dumas are trying to save their home -- the threat to them is from Lake Francis, which is quickly rising to swallow their year-round residence.

They've had to buy sandbags in Winnipeg and fill them themselves with the help of students from Lundar and friends and family, one from as far away as B.C.

"I don't have a clue how high it will come," Foy said, taking a quick break. "Some say it will come a foot over the road."

Twin Lakes Beach is a strip of land at the south end of Lake Manitoba, sandwiched between a big marsh known as Lake Francis to the south and Lake Manitoba.

Both are forecast to be three feet higher than normal this spring because of all the water coming from the Portage Diversion and Assiniboine River. A stiff north wind today is blowing it even higher.

"Sand bags won't do anything," one man said.

Doris said she and her husband have never seen Lake Francis rise as fast as it has in past few days. She said the have no choice but to try to save their house.

"We live here year-round. It's not like we have a second home," she said.


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Updated on Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 1:25 PM CDT: Corrected two spelling/grammatical errors.

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