Flooding triggers evacuations in Peguis

‘The fact is the water is starting to take over the community’, chief says

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Though much of Manitoba is free from the recent storm, the finish line is not yet in sight for communities across southern parts of the province that continue to combat overflowing rivers, swollen ditches and washed-out roads.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 02/05/2022 (212 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Though much of Manitoba is free from the recent storm, the finish line is not yet in sight for communities across southern parts of the province that continue to combat overflowing rivers, swollen ditches and washed-out roads.

Severe flooding in the Fisher River, almost 200 kilometres north of Winnipeg, has triggered major evacuations in Peguis First Nation. Roughly a quarter of the community’s homes have been impacted by flooding, Chief Glenn Hudson of Peguis First Nation said Sunday afternoon.

“The fact is the water is starting to take over the community,” Hudson said. “It’s all about evacuation right now.”

Flooding is shown in Peguis First Nation. Roughly a quarter of the community’s homes have been impacted by flooding, Chief Glenn Hudson of Peguis First Nation said Sunday afternoon. (Submitted)

Peguis First Nation had evacuated 150 residents to hotels in Gimli and Winnipeg as of Sunday morning. Though the community has managed the flooding on its own until now, Hudson says he is strongly considering calling on the military for support if conditions don’t stabilize soon.

“It’s that bad,” Hudson said.

The Fisher River has breached Provincial Road 224 — the main route through the community — in four locations. The river has also overtaken sections of another primary roadway on the west side of the reserve.

The community has rallied to install aqua dams and sandbags. So far, workers and volunteers have flood-proofed roughly 10 homes.

“One of the major issues is there were no predictions listed by the province, who are in control of water stewardship,” Hudson said. “And because of no predictions on flooding, we didn’t get the support early that we needed to prepare.”

He added that the province notified the community Friday that the Fisher River was at risk of flooding — one day after Peguis First Nation declared a state of emergency due to the same concerns.

“That’s Friday,” Hudson said. “We could have probably started (preparing) last weekend if there were flood predictions forecasted.”

Hudson pegs this flooding as on par with that of 2011. That year saw 890 residents evacuated and 485 homes impacted, he said.

The rural municipality of Dufferin is one of the latest to join a ballooning list of communities that have declared a state of emergency.

“The Boyne River is flooding very seriously. I’ve lived along the river all my life, and I’ve never seen so much water coming so fast,” said 76-year-old George Gray, reeve for the rural municipality of Dufferin.

Gray said about half a dozen families living west of Carman outside the diversion voluntarily evacuated their homes by Sunday.

“We have not got the crest of the Boyne River yet. We’re probably looking at least three to four days of high water,” Gray said. “We’re just trying to keep ahead of it.”

All properties situated within the Carman diversion continue to be protected, Gray said.

The heavy volume of water gushing down the hills of the Pembina Escarpment into the Roseisle River has put the village of Roseisle at risk of flooding, Gray said. Declaring a state of emergency allowed the rural municipality of Dufferin to temporarily cut away a road to expedite the flow of water, he added.

“I’m recommending that anybody that’s driving around take caution. Please don’t go anywhere unless you have to until this is over,” Gray said.

This new wave of precipitation also triggered some local governments near Lake Winnipeg to jump into action.

Winnipeg Beach declared a state of emergency Saturday to get the provincial government’s permission to remove two culverts in the Boundary Creek area. Ditch water had overwhelmed the “huge” culverts, putting nearby roads and homes at risk, Mayor Tony Pimentel said Sunday morning.

Crews got to work that same day to clear away the culverts. As a result, the water now flows into Lake Winnipeg with ease.

“That has helped tremendously,” Pimentel said. He added that the town plans to work with the province to prevent future flooding at this spot.

Winnipeg Beach’s state of emergency also allows the community to bring in more flood protection equipment in short order if needed, Pimentel said.

A boil water advisory was declared for Morden early Sunday morning.

A failure in the city’s water treatment and monitoring system caused poorly treated water to enter the network, the province’s Medical Officer of Health said in a statement Sunday.

Until further notice, all water used for consumption should be brought to a boiling boil for at least one minute. However, it’s not necessary to boil water for other household tasks, such as laundry or washing dishes.

No timeline has been provided for when the advisory will end.

Forecasters report that southern Manitoba can expect warmer, sunnier weather in the coming days.

All rainfall warnings for Manitoba have been lifted, though some snowfall warnings remain in effect for northeastern parts of the province, Dan Fulton, meteorologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada, said Sunday.

Areas near Island Lake could see snowfall amounts in the range of 10 cm to 20 cm into Monday afternoon.

Fulton forecasts parts of southern Manitoba could see slightly above normal temperatures as next weekend approaches.

“It’ll be a nice change,” Fulton said.

Winnipeg just experienced its second-wettest April in recorded history, reports Rob Paola, retired Environment Canada meteorologist. According to data compiled by Paola, April saw 118.2 mm of precipitation — almost four times the average for this month.

The wettest April on record was 1896 with 143.3 mm of precipitation.

city.desk@freepress.mb.ca

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