Manitoba floods forecast to reach records levels
Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 4:13 PM - Officials are bracing for 'record' floods in Manitoba as water levels continue to rise, with some saying the next 48 hours could be the most critical for the province.
The Assiniboine River crest is expected to reach 50,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) in the days to come.
Flows on the Qu’Appelle River are already at a record high.
Meanwhile, protection efforts ahead of the flooding appears to have paid off, with all homes along the swollen Assiniboine sandbagged.
"To date, an estimated 212,700 sandbags have been produced and 184,000 have been delivered," The Manitoba government says in a Tuesday afternoon statement.
"The remainder is being reserved for rapid deployment. Production of sandbags is continuing, with another 76,000 expected to be produced in the next 24 hours."
Several sections of roads have been impacted by flood waters, prompting closures in some places.
"Municipal roads may also be affected, closed or have load limitations. Drive with caution and obey road closed signs," the province warns.
"On all roads in southwest Manitoba, assume the bridges are also damaged. Reduce speed and weight to 10 tonnes only."
Bridge damage inspections are ongoing.
On Friday, Manitoba took the rare step of declaring a province-wide state of emergency amid rising concerns over flood waters.
"The Manitoba government is declaring a provincial state of emergency ... requesting Canadian Forces support; and establishing a unified command centre near Portage la Prairie to assist with liaison efforts with the affected communities," a Friday statement on the provincial government's website read.
"This will allow emergency work to reinforce the dikes along the Assiniboine River between Portage la Prairie and Winnipeg, and to raise the dikes along the Portage Diversion."
As of Tuesday morning, 725 residents had been evacuated in Manitoba due to flooding in 2014.
Saskatchewan has also been dealing with rising water levels. Flood damages in the province are expected to exceed the $360 million in damages incurred during the 2011 floods.
With files from the Canadian Press