Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 22/6/2011 (3201 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
MANITOBA'S flood fight will now flow into the middle of July, and perhaps beyond, as heavy rain continues to soak the already waterlogged prairies.
It means dikes along the Souris River must be raised by as much as eight feet in some places to contain flood water coming from Saskatchewan and North Dakota — the same water that's inundated Minot, N.D. and forced the evacuation Wednesday of 11,000 of its residents.
And flows will be a lot higher than were seen back in late April.
It also means sustained high flows through the Portage Diversion into Lake Manitoba, which has already risen to one of its highest recorded levels and caused widespread overflowing of its shoreline and destruction to hundreds of cottages, homes and farmland.
"Today is Day 79 of the 2011 flood season, and events of the last 24 hours have clearly indicated that we will have many more days to come," a subdued Emergency Measures Minister Steve Ashton said at Wednesday's provincial flood briefing.
In Saskatchewan, a 150-kilometre stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway was shut down by the Saskatchewan government when water from heavy rainstorms drowned out the road, Ashton said, adding another 30 millimetres of rain is in the forecast.
"Everything we've used to describe the flood this far has proven to be inadequate," he said. "Unprecedented is really an understatement at this point."
On the bright side, the water coming this way on the Souris River from Saskatchewan will take several days, giving flood fighters valuable time to shore up dikes at Wananesa, Souris, Melita and other towns and properties that hug what's normally a harmless, meandering prairie river.
Provincial officials predict by mid-July, flows on the Souris could reach up to 32,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) at Wawanesa, dwarfing what was seen in April when the spring flood peaked at 19,000 cfs. Dikes at the southwestern Manitoba town will have to come up eight feet, Ashton said, to protect the town from flooding.
"We're working around the clock to determine what can be done with the ever-changing circumstances and the continuing significant rainfall we're seeing," Ashton said.
Steve Topping, Manitoba Water Stewardship's executive director of regulatory and operational services, said what we're experiencing in Manitoba is due to water draining from the Souris River basin in Saskatchewan and North Dakota. The area is saturated and simply can't absorb any more rain.
"They are doing everything they can," Topping said of flood fighters in Saskatchewan. "Their reservoirs are full."
What works in Manitoba's favour is that that rainfall hasn't hit the upper Assiniboine River basin, so flows on it will not be severe at Brandon, he said.
However, officials say Manitobans should keep their sandbag dikes up for the foreseeable future in case more rain raises other river and lake levels.
"It just seems to keep coming," Ashton said. "A lot of people in Manitoba are saying, "Here we go again.'"