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Manitoba Flood Update – June 9

Reid Dickie

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.

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Filed under Accommodations, Flood, Local History, Parks

The Flood, The Rapture and My Blogging Life

Reid Dickie

The last two weeks have been a blast for me due to unexpectedly high numbers of people checking out ReadReidRead. Starting May 9, when I blogged about Manitoba’s flood, especially around Brandon and Spruce Woods Park, my hits went from about 100 a day to averaging 800 a day today. My keywords and tags got me noticed, I showed up often on Page 1 of Google, a few times as the first entry and my blogging dream started to evolve. I learned an enormous amount about blogging this month, especially about getting people to come back. Daily updates and great pictures kept you returning. Floods are incredibly photogenic with plenty of ironic possibilities and quality pictures are easy to find. My best day since I started blogging last December was at the high point of the flood, Thursday, May 12 when I got 935 hits! Amazing!

During this, several people asked why I was so interested in Brandon? It is the city of my birth though I grew up in a small town about a hour away. I’ve always had relatives in Brandon whom I’ve visited all my life and still do. My second radio job was in Brandon when I did the all-night show on CKX from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. for 23 months in the early 1970s. The radio station no longer exists. I like Brandon though it is growing much too quickly and is under development duress. Plus it has about 100 too many stoplights!

Additionally, for my blogging needs, Brandon has two excellent media outlets. CKLQ Radio 880 carried the daily briefings of Brandon flood officials live at 10:30 and 4. Hearing the voices of the emergency coordinator and the mayor regularily in these briefings, I started to recognize the level of stress the city was under in their voices. Tension and uncertainty held them in sway for over a week but the past few days there is a more relaxed tone though they are still working hard to make the flood easier for everyone, especially the 1400 people evacuated from their homes in The Flats. I have developed great respect for Brian Kayes, the city’s emergency measures coordinator, and Brandon’s new mayor, Shari Decter Hirst. Brandon is lucky to have competent and caring people in charge of their “high water event.” The other outlet that kept me up to speed is the Brandon Sun who always have great pictures and reports from around the region.

In the past few days the irresistable opportunity of blogging about The Rapture was tossed in my lap. Ah, the stuff bloggers love to write about! Friday and yesterday plenty of people went searching for info on the end of the world, which was my most searched tag on those days resulting in my second best day ever yesterday on Saturday May 21 when I got 883 hits.

This blogger is well aware of the irony and absurdity of getting massive hits from people going in search of the end of the world, as if anyone would notice it ended unless it was reported on TV. The flood is harder to have fun with but easier to express my true feelings of concern for people and the land. I enjoyed shining a light on the mainly incompetent efforts of the province’s “flood managers” who seemed afraid to get their feet wet from the premier on down.

I am humbled and exhilerated by your response to my blog. Thank you, readers.

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Filed under Blog Life, Flood, Local History

Brandon’s Flood of the Century – The Water Keeps Rising!

Reid Dickie

A state of emergency was declared yesterday for the City of Brandon. This morning (Monday) an evacuation notice was issued for about 900 homes in a widespread area of Brandon known as “The Flats.” The area is in the valley and the notice covers 4th to 26th Streets North and MacDonald Avenue North. All homes in the area must be evacuated by 8 p.m. today. Access to the City of Brandon from the north is limited and the possibility of closing 18th Street is growing.  Three car dealerships have already moved their product to higher ground and the Corral Centre, a mass of big box stores in the river valley, is threatened. The Assiniboine has already passed the record level in Brandon set during the flood of 1923 and work continues to raise the dikes. Exactly the thing we don’t need – more rain. Between 20 and 50 millimetres of rain is expected in southern Manitoba over the next few days. Brandon’s mayor is holding a press conference this morning.

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Filed under Flood, Local History, Prairie People

Flooding at Spruce Woods Provincial Park

Reid Dickie

Campground office at Spruce Woods Provincial Park is inundated

       Ice jams caused flooding early on but now the sheer volume of water coming down the Assiniboine River has flooded low lying areas of the park including the entire campground. This does not include the Spirit Sands or the yurts which have substantial elevation above the river. The Assiniboine is expected to crest sometime this week.

Here is a very helpful interactive map showing all highway closures and conditions in Manitoba.

 http://www.brandonsun.com/flood/MAP-Latest-closed-highways-119780839.html?thx=y

        A state of emergency due to flooding has been declared in Brandon today as the Assiniboine rose a foot overnight. Brandon is located about 30 miles upstream from Spruce Woods Park. The Brandon Sun has excellent coverage of the local flood situation.

http://www.brandonsun.com/

Live Brandon flood cams

http://www.brandonsun.com/flood/Brandon-Live-Flood-Cams-119244814.html?thx=y

Johnny Cash sings Five Feet High and Rising

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Filed under Images, Natural Places, Parks, Uncategorized