The Manitoba government advises a provincial state of emergency remains in place along the lower Assiniboine River from Portage la Prairie to Winnipeg to allow for preparations for high water flows expected to be at 2011 levels plus one foot.
Lower Assiniboine River
Work continues on schedule on three key fronts by provincial government staff and contractors, local municipalities and the Canadian Armed Forces. Dikes are under construction at homes and low-lying areas in several communities along the Assiniboine River.
Sightseers are making it difficult for crews and homeowners to move around the area and get necessary work done to raise dikes. Manitobans are asked to avoid areas along the Portage Diversion and the Assiniboine River dikes unless they are working or volunteering.
There will be limited access to these areas while crews are working and access to overhead airspace is limited.
Assiniboine River Dikes
The Assiniboine River crest is expected to arrive at the Portage Diversion by the morning of July 9 between 9 a.m. and noon. Water levels will continue to rise quickly as the crest approaches and is forecast to reach 50,500 to 51,500 cubic feet per second (cfs).
As the crest approaches Portage la Prairie, flows on the Portage Diversion and the lower Assiniboine River will be increased.
The flows on the Assiniboine River downstream of the diversion will be increased to 18,000 cfs by midnight tomorrow. It will take approximately 24 hours before these flows reach Baie St. Paul and downstream communities.
Flows on the Portage Diversion will increase throughout today and tomorrow as the crest approaches. At the crest, it is expected there will be approximately 34,000 cfs flowing through the Portage Diversion.
Today, there will be a major push to complete upgrades to the dikes and protect communities in the affected rural municipalities. It is anticipated that all work will be completed by tomorrow morning.
Crews worked overnight and an estimated 69,200 sandbags were delivered to the Rural Municipality of Cartier. Another 60,000 sandbags will be delivered to the RM of St. François Xavier today. About 75 members of the Canadian Armed Forces will be assisting with enhancing area dikes.
The rural municipalities of Cartier and St. François Xavier are seeking volunteers to help protect properties in the area. For more information, contact the RM of Cartier at 204-353-4005 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or the RM of St. François Xavier’s Emergency Operations Centre Public Information Line at 204-864-2874.
The Portage Diversion is operating, with flows on the Assiniboine River above the diversion at 32,750 cfs. The diversion is currently redirecting 16,950 cfs and flows on the Assiniboine River downstream of the diversion are 15,850 cfs.
Efforts continue on the Portage Diversion and the Assiniboine River to reinforce the east dike with aquadams for the last three kilometres to Lake Manitoba.
The failsafe on the diversion near Lake Manitoba is designed to allow water to flow through the diversion. This is not a breach of the diversion but a design function.
As part of normal operations when flows are high, crews are allowing high flows off the west side of the channel to help reduce pressure on the east dike and reduce the potential for damage to properties on the east side.
Hoop and Holler Controlled Release
Preparations for a possible controlled release are almost complete. A controlled release would only be used as a last resort to prevent an uncontrolled breach.
Assistance will be available to help residents who may be affected by flooding caused by this controlled release.
Yesterday afternoon, residents of West Delta Beach were advised of a mandatory evacuation order. A precautionary evacuation was also recommended to residents of East Delta Beach. The rural municipality is working with provincial emergency support services to ensure evacuated people have accommodations and other services as required.
As of this morning, approximately 725 people have evacuated their homes and communities due to flooding in 2014. This includes approximately 160 evacuees from two communities due to spring flooding.
As of yesterday morning, 55 municipalities and communities have declared a state of local emergency. New declarations include one from the local government district of Alonsa.
Several flood warnings, watches and high water advisories remain in place. The flood warnings for streams and drains in the Souris and Assiniboine river basins have been lowered to a flood watch. The high water advisory for Red Deer Lake has been raised to a flood watch.
Provincial staff is encouraged to contact their departmental representative if they are able to volunteer for flood-fighting efforts. In addition, 25 forest firefighters from across the province are being redeployed to support flood-fighting efforts.
A mobile recovery office will be set up in communities in the southwest area of Manitoba beginning with the town of Virden. Staff is available to answer questions and take applications for disaster financial assistance.
The mobile recovery office will be open today and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The office will be located in the parking lot of 236 Wellington St. W (Town of Virden Office) in Virden.
The mobile recovery office will be located in Elkhorn at 108 Richhill Ave. E on Wednesday, July 9 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Over the next few days, staff from the Alberta Emergency Management Agency will arrive to provide assistance during the flood.
Livestock producers looking for additional sources of hay or pasture can see current listings at www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture under ‘online resources’.
Currently, water levels at James Avenue are at 16.8 feet. Levels and flows in Winnipeg are forecast to remain relatively stable over the next few days and then increase to approximately 17.3 to 17.5 ft. at James Avenue by July 9 to 11, due to high flows on the Assiniboine River.
The water level on the Shellmouth Reservoir has increased to 1,415 ft. Inflows to the reservoir are approximately 18,180 cfs today while outflows from the reservoir are approximately
Inflows to the Shellmouth Dam are forecast to peak at approximately 21,800 cfs on July 10 and the reservoir level is forecast to peak at approximately 1.416.9 ft. on July 12. Peak forecast outflows of approximately 19,600 cfs are expected on July 12.
The Assiniboine River at Brandon has crested at 34,330 cfs with a water level of 1,182.7 ft. and dikes held. The peak water flow at Brandon during the 2011 flood was 36,730 cfs. The permanent flood protection dikes built following the 2011 flood are designed to provide adequate flood protection for the current forecast levels.
A second summer crest on the Assiniboine River at Brandon is expected on July 17 to 18 at 31,000 to 32,000 cfs. This second crest will consist of flows from the upper Assiniboine and Qu’Appelle river basins.
Assiniboine River Tributaries
Flows on the Qu’Appelle River are starting to increase again as more water moves through the system.
This second summer crest on the Qu’Appelle River is at record high flows, larger than 2011 levels, significantly larger than the previous summer crest.
Water levels between the Shellmouth Reservoir and St-Lazare will be higher than levels in 2011.
The forecast peak flow at St-Lazare is approximately 27,000 to 28,000 cfs on July 14.
This flow will result in water levels below the permanent flood protection dikes, but approximately one foot higher than 2011 water levels. Several homes outside the permanent dikes are being monitored in case evacuations are needed.
Local and provincial officials are assessing the situation and will protect properties as needed.
The Souris River crested yesterday at Melita, Souris and Wawanesa and is declining at all points.
Whitewater Lake remains at a historic high of 1,633.5 ft.
Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation’s Hydrologic Forecast Centre reports the wind forecast for today and tomorrow results in a moderate wind warning for the south shore of Lake Winnipeg today and a high wind warning for the south shore of Lake Winnipeg tomorrow.
The winds on Lake Winnipeg could increase water levels by two to three ft. in the south basin of the lake along with significant wave action on southern shorelines.
The wind forecast for today and tomorrow results in a low wind warning for the south shoreline of Lake Manitoba today and a moderate wind warning for the south shoreline of Lake Manitoba tomorrow.
The winds on Lake Manitoba could increase water levels by up to one foot in the south basin of the lake along with considerable wave action on southern shorelines.
In the Rural Municipality of Coldwell, work is underway to raise and strengthen dike systems and reduce wave erosion.
The forecast peak water level on Lake Manitoba is 814.6 ft. in early August.
Stress and Anxiety Resources
The scale and scope of the summer flood is very challenging for affected Manitoba families. There are resources to help deal with stress and anxiety which result from crisis situations.
Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation reports sections of many provincial roads have been affected by the heavy rainfall and some roads are either closed or marked with caution. Municipal roads may also be affected, closed or have load limitations. Drive with caution and obey road closed signs.
Motorists are reminded bridges opened south of Virden and west of PTH 21 are open on a restricted basis. Caution is still required and speed is restricted to 60 km/hr.