“It’s a sad situation up here,” said Dave Shott, who has been farming around Arborg for 22 years. “We have nothing. The atmosphere out here is total despair.”
The despair this farmer feels is shared by thousands of others around the province. Over 2.5 million acres of farmland are too wet to seed this year. This is a record! Many crops that were seeded are now under water. The flood has caused a slump in house, cottage, farm equipment and vehicle sales in Manitoba.
Evacuations are still occurring due to new flooding. Mandatory evacuation notices were issued to approximately 100 people in the community of Vogar in the RM of Siglunes with additional mandatory evacuations at Kernsted Beach, Mrs. Ellie’s Drive, Skinny Dip Bay, Lundar Beach and Sugar Point in the RM of Coldwell. More people were evacuated from three First Nations around Lakes Manitoba and St. Martin this week.
A bridge near Treesbank was washed out as a provincial government employee was inspecting it. The man escaped without harm after being pulled from the Assiniboine.
Last Friday, as I was driving home through Riding Mountain National Park, I noticed at least half a dozen beaver ponds along the road had been recently drained. This includes a huge pond near Beach Ridges as you enter the park from the north. I called the Park office to enquire about this and was told the water from the ponds was threatening the highway in some places so they were drained. Just what we need, more water coming down off Riding Mountain!
It has rained heavily here for two days, adding to the worry and frustration and contributing to river flows province wide. The rivers of major concern today are the Qu’ Appelle, the Souris, the Whitemud and the Assiniboine. Flood watches continue for these rivers. I’ll have more firsthand flood reports on Friday.
The Rain Has Stopped!
That’s the best news! This map illustrates the normal amounts of rainfall Manitoba usually gets in May and the excessive accumulations this year. The following list shows how much more rain the area has received compared to normal amounts for May.
- Souris, Estevan, Sask. and Minot, N.D., have received 297 per cent of normal precipitation.
- Hamiota has received 294 per cent of normal precipitation.
- Pierson has received 279 per cent of normal precipitation.
- Ste. Rose du Lac has received 254 per cent of normal precipitation.
- Virden has received 250 per cent of normal precipitation.
- McCreary has received 246 per cent of normal precipitation.
- Melita has received 229 per cent of normal precipitation.
- Dauphin and Arborg have received 195 per cent of normal precipitation.
- Brandon has received 190 per cent of normal precipitation.
- Portage la Prairie has received 182 per cent of normal precipitation.
So far, our spring has been cool and wet with a few summery days. Soils province-wide are saturated causing concern about flash flooding should we get more heavy rains. Fields and pastures remain underwater with farmers saying the land will be useless for years, residents along Lake Manitoba are demanding government buy-outs of their flooded properties, Dauphin Lake claims more and more properties, new crests of the Souris, Qu’ Appelle and Assiniboine Rivers are coming and emergency crews continue watching miles of dikes for breaches. Regarding the buy-outs, The Magnificent Selinger has flip-flopped on this, one day, no buy-outs, next day maybe buy-outs, then some buy-outs. Still pretty tense here.
Bartley Kives wrote an interesting piece about our lakes in the Brandon Sun. Best lead line this week is from Bill Redekop: “One cottage had seaweed clinging to the ceiling fan.” Sad, poignant and descriptive – good one, Bill!
Provincial parks are either blossoming or bombing this year depending on their flood status. Three campgrounds around Lake Manitoba have been inundated and are closed for the season: Lundar Beach, St. Ambroise and Watchorn. Due to spring flooding and increases in lake levels for the next several months, these three provincial park campgrounds will not open this season and efforts are underway to protect park infrastructure. Spruce Woods Park remains off-limits and inaccessible except for the higher campground. The provincial parks website has the latest information. A reminder: for the third year in a row there is no charge to visit Manitoba’s provincial parks, free admittance but campground fees still apply. Get out there and enjoy one of our parks.