Manitoba plans to break dike to ease flooding
Saturday, July 5, 2014, 11:00 -
Officials in Manitoba plan to breach a dike in a move to ease the flood emergency in that province.
Premier Greg Selinger told the Canadian Press the tactic - last used in 2011 - is meant to ease pressure on other dikes keeping the flood-swollen Assiniboine River at bay.
"The risk is of an uncontrolled breach and then you lose control of what's going to happen,'' Selinger said Friday night. "Once you lose control, you don't know the magnitude of how much damage will be done and which people and lives are at risk."
But while the measure is hoped to ease the situation overall, breaching the dike will in itself flood several hundred square kilometres of land and put 150 homes at risk.
Selinger declared a province-wide state of emergency late last week, as the province continued to struggle with widespread flooding from a system that dumped up to 200 mm on some parts of the Prairies.
More than 100 communities in Manitoba and neighbouring Saskatchewan are in a state of emergency. Around 300 people in Saskatchewan and another 700 in Manitoba have been forced from their homes.
The Canadian military has been deployed to help in sandbagging efforts to protect at-risk properties. They're expected to full around a million of them, adding to a stock of 2 million to protect properties west of Winnipeg.
People living along the Assiniboine River have been warned to expect water levels half a metre higher than those in 2011, as the crest moves through from Saskatchewan. It is expected Saturday in Brandon and in Portage La Prairie a few days later.
Some rainfall is expected in the region this weekend, with a chance of severe thunderstorms in the south of Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan.
With files from the Canadian Press.
TUNE IN: Deb Matejicka will be reporting from the region Saturday. If it's safe to do so, upload YOUR photos and videos here.