WINNIPEG - The flood fight in Winnipeg has officially started, as the city is asking 109 low-lying properties to build sandbag dikes by Sunday evening.
The rapid rise of the Red River over the weekend has led the city to move up its flood-fighting schedule.
That means the city will deliver sandbags to 109 out of the 560 properties on its protection list over the next few days, as soon as the property owners are ready, said public works flood coordinator Scott Payne.
About 30 of these properties must complete their dikes by Friday. The remaining 80, at slightly higher elevations, have until Sunday, Payne said.
It's up to property owners to build the dikes, but the city will assist with sandbags, expertise and the co-ordination of volunteers.
Anyone wishing to volunteer may call 311 or visit the city's website to register. Property owners who need to build dikes right away will be notified in person by city staff.
Most are located along Kingston Crescent, Cloutier Drive, Christie Road and other low-lying areas.
The commencement of flood-fighting operations follows a rapid rise in the Red River, which is now 14.4 feet above normal winter ice levels at James Avenue.
The Red is expected to reach 20 feet James this weekend.
Levels are rising quickly because of Sunday's rains as well as the ice that remains on the Red. When the ice moves off, levels may stabilize or even temporarily drop, said city flood protection engineer Grant Mohr.
The city will notify another 450 property owners when it's time for them to build sandbag dikes.
The Red may not crest in Winnipeg until mid-May, the province surmised earlier today.