A huge ice jam in the Boyne River has Carman residents facing their worst flood in decades.

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A huge ice jam in the Boyne River has Carman residents facing their worst flood in decades.

Mayor Bob Mitchell said Monday that more than 30 homes have already been damaged by basement and crawl space flooding or sewage backup as a result of the six-kilometre-long glacier-like barrier.

Mitchell said more than 200 other properties were at risk over the past few days, but the threat is dropping along with river levels.

"The water has been going down — probably around 30 inches (75 centimetres) overnight," he said.

"The risk is not there as much as it was, but as the ice jams (upstream) give way, we get water. Water from the next one will get here in 2 1/2 days."

Mitchell said flooding used to be almost an annual event until a diversion system was built around Carman in 1991.

But the mayor said ice is causing the problem, forcing water that has already flowed downstream through the community back into town.

"The ice is three feet (90 cm) thick in places and we can't get equipment to it," he said. "The ice jam is six kilometres long. There was water running over the bridge by the golf course — we've never seen that before."

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>One of several homes along the Boyne River in Carman hastily sandbagged Sunday morning after an ice jam left the community scrambling.</p>

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

One of several homes along the Boyne River in Carman hastily sandbagged Sunday morning after an ice jam left the community scrambling.

 

Mitchell said the town was forced to close the water treatment plant because there's too much sediment in the river and one of the bridges in the community has been damaged by ice. The town's high school and elementary schools were closed Monday, as was another school just north of the community.

In a press release late Monday, the Prairie Rose School Division announced that both Carman Elementary and Carman Collegiate will be closed on Tuesday due to the flooding and water supply situations.

"We think we can get the treatment plant operational (Monday night)," Mitchell said.

But he said everyone is keeping a close eye on the river.

"Some of our guys have been working around the clock," he said. "I've never seen anything like this and I've been living here for 35 years."

 

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

 

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason
Reporter

Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.