WEATHER ALERT

Looking back on the flood of 1997

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The 1997 Red River flood was the worst to hit southern Manitoba in 145 years.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/04/2022 (279 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The 1997 Red River flood was the worst to hit southern Manitoba in 145 years.

Before the month-long flood was over, nearly 350,000 acres of farmland was submerged, approximately 350 farmers were affected and about 25,000 residents — 7,000 of them in Winnipeg — were evacuated from their homes.

The river peaked in the city on May 3 and 4.

A group of friends and volunteers south of Winnipeg work furiously to complete a ring dike to save a family’s farm from ruin. (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press files)

The Red Sea was a massive body of water — 20 kilometres wide at the American border and about 40 kilometres wide just south of Winnipeg — spreading at will across the valley’s flat farmland.

Before it was done, about 8,500 members of the armed forces were deployed here, the biggest Canadian military operation since the Korean War.

The intense weight of sandbags was a concern on Scotia Street. (Joe Bryksa / Winnipeg Free Press files)
The crumbled remains of a section of Highway 75. (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press files)
Manitoba Hydro worker Dave Crowe sits on piles of empty sand bags in Ste. Agathe. He and a few other essential workers were the only ones allowed to return after the town was evacuated. (Joe Bryksa / Winnipeg Free Press files)
Soldiers of the Third Battalion Princess Patricias shore up a dike southeast of Winnipeg around Grande Pointe in spring 1997 as water backed up from the Winnipeg Floodway. (Ken Gigliotti / Winnipeg Free Press files)
Soldiers load boats off the Floodway embankment with sandbags destined for threatened communities south of Winnipeg. (Jeff Debooy / Winnipeg Free Press files)
Navy Zodiacs deliver sandbags to a Winnipeg property. (Jeff Debooy / Winnipeg Free Press files)
Diking homes on Scotia Street became a full-time job for many volunteers. (Ken Gigliotti / Winnipeg Free Press files)
A warning sign sits almost completely submerged by the flood waters of the Red River near downtown Winnipeg in April 1997.(Tom Hanson / The Canadian Press files)
It was a wet trek finding a way into Grande Pointe. (Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press files)
Ken Arnason, a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary from Gimli, beaches his Zodiac along Highway 330. (Jeff Debooy / Winnipeg Free Press files)
A boat heads toward a diked home in the RM of Ritchot. (Winnipeg Free Press files)
Hundreds of volunteer sandbaggers and boaters respond to Grande Pointe’s plea for help in May 1997. (Ken Gigliotti / Winnipeg Free Press files)
Grande Pointe resident Ed Hallama returned home to find 100-year-old photographs of his grandparents damaged by flood waters. (Joe Bryksa / Winnipeg Free Press files)
A radio-equipped soldier patrols dikes around a home on St. Mary’s Road south of Winnipeg. (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press files)
Marc Bruneau took to the water to check on his neighbours’ diked homes in Grande Pointe. (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press files)
A canoe sits on the side of Highway 59 as traffic continues to travel the flood-soaked road. (Beth A. Keiser / The Associated Press files)
Boats navigate flooded roadways south of Winnipeg near Morris. (Ken Gigliotti / Winnipeg Free Press files)
The Canadian Mechanized Brigade of Edmonton was on the scene to help Harry Waldner of La Salle repair his leaking dike. (Joe Bryksa / Winnipeg Free Press files)
Stretches of Highway 75, the province’s main route south from Winnipeg, were completely washed out. (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press files)
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