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Manitoba issues high-water advisory for rising Red River south of Winnipeg

Sunday, July 5th 2020, 12:30 pm - Manitoba is also closely monitoring the risk of a failing provincial dam in the soggy southwest.

A high-water advisory is now in effect for the parts of the Red River Valley, the Manitoba government said on Saturday.

Rising water levels on the Red River and its tributaries due to recent events has led the province to issuing a high-water advisory for the river between Emerson and Winnipeg, Manitoba Infrastructure's Hydrologic Forecast Centre said in a news release on Saturday afternoon.

According to the release, water levels will continue to rise along the river as moderate precipitation remains in the forecast at most locations in the province's south, including the Red River basin, in the next four to six days.

The northward-flowing river is not expected to spill its banks, the province said.



Record-high rainfall of more than 200 millimetres over the past week in parts of southwest and western Manitoba, as well as significant amounts dumped south of the U.S. border, prompted an update on the flood warning and high water advisory.

The mayor of the Riverdale municipality said the slowing and receding waters are a positive sign for the rural community.

Todd Gill said he is helping clean up while keeping a keen watch on the water and forecast, since Manitoba Infrastructure lost confidence that the Rivers Dam could continue holding back water from Lake Wahtopanah, which is fed by the Little Saskatchewan River.

Gill's home has already been destroyed due to flooding.

The Little Saskatchewan River remains historically high at the provincial dam at Rivers, even as levels are declining about 1½ feet per day from its peak level recorded on July 1. The latest flow rate from the dam is down by half, from 12,000 cubic feet per second to 6,000.

The Rivers Dam, located 27 kilometres northwest of Brandon, is being monitored around the clock, according to the province's release on Saturday.

More than 100 evacuations have already taken place in the surrounding area.

Road near Rivers Dam The road near the Rivers Dam was closed to traffic on Thursday. The province requested people to stay away from flood-affected areas on Saturday. (Ezra Belotte-Cousineau/CBC)

As of Saturday, 82 people had left their homes in the rural municipality of Riverdale, four from the rural municipality of Cornwallis, 16 from the rural municipality of Whitehead and three from Neepawa, a town 55 kilometres northeast of Brandon.

Some livestock have also been relocated from the Riverdale and Whitehead.

Craig Mayor's home about three kilometres away from Rivers would have been ruined if it wasn't for volunteers stepping up.

"It was a little bit hectic," he said.

Craig Mayor/CBC Craig Mayor, a resident of Riverdale, Man. in his yard Saturday. Mayor is keeping a close eye on lake levels as his home is at risk of flooding if a nearby dam bursts. (Austin Grabish/CBC)

The province is asking people to stay away from flooding areas and not attempt to enter flooded bodies of water.

The province is also requesting only essential travel takes place in affected areas.

The province's crews are closely watching water-level conditions and regularly inspecting the infrastructure, with 11 standard emergency response trailers armed with pumps, water tubes and other critical flood equipment in the Westman area.

Thumbnail courtesy of Tyson Koschik/CBC.

The story was originally published for, with files from Austin Grabish.

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