Tag Archives: melita

Manitoba Flood Update – June 27

Reid Dickie
More Water Sooner!
 
It’s the next crest of the Souris River that we are watching and preparing for now. Water volumes arriving from North Dakota are higher than expected making existing dikes inadequate to the coming water levels. The new crests could start arriving in Manitoba by the end of the week, sooner than anticipated.
 
Melita, already virtually under siege by the Souris River, is calling for more volunteers to fill sandbags and do other duties and they are paying $15 an hour. If you can help out call the Melita town office at 522-3413. Mayor Bob Walker seems pretty confident the dike system will hold but he says two businesses near the dikes have been evacuated. So far no homes in Melita have been evacuated but that could change quickly. One section of the town is on alert.
 
A little further downstream Wawanesa begins to evacuate homes. Evacuation notices have been issued for 13 homes. Residents will have to be out by 6 pm Tuesday. Wawanesa mayor Bruce Gullet says it’s a precaution as is evacuating Wawanesa’s personal care home for the second time. He says the entire dike system is being rebuilt to make it stronger and higher. Volunteers are needed badly in Wawanesa as well.
 
The town of Souris has issued approximately 30 more mandatory evacuation notices for homes. Residents, mostly right along the Souris River and Plum Creek, must be out today. Sixty-four homes in Souris have already been evacuated. Famous for having the longest swinging bridge, which spans the Souris, crews have determined that saving the bridge is too risky. With the strong current, the landmark may be swept away. The town’s dike system is being raised and reinforced.  Souris emergency coordinator Sven Kreusch says they have requested military help but received no response.
 
If these small towns are having to pay for “volunteers” to help protect them, isn’t it a no-brainer to get the troops back to support these flood-weary people. Various protocols have to be satisfied for this to happen but, while the bureaucracy grinds slowly, the Souris River rises fast and travels furiously. While the province provides engineers to determine required dike work, they have few bodies to contribute to the actual building. I would hate to think Tsar Selinger is holding back on inviting the military to assist because they would steal his thunder, such as it is. Selinger is desperate. He needs to seem competent at something/anything but comes off looking cynical, manipulative and unkind again.
 
I don’t watch television but my friend Terry said the CBS Evening News translated the French word souris, meaning mouse, into English, changing the name of the river from Souris to the Mouse River. Pronouncing a word as complex as souris (sir’ iss) would be a major challenge for American talking heads and editors.
 
I took this picture of the Portage Diversion at Trans Canada Highway crossing yesterday. It’s still almost filled to the brim but with a little freeboard to accommodate the Souris now barreling toward it.

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Filed under Flood, Prairie People

Manitoba Flood Update – June 23

Reid Dickie

“Time to start building an ark,” said the elderly man ahead of me at the Hort’s this morning. Surveying the current situation, he may be right.

Deluges of rain in the Souris River watershed over the weekend have already raised the river to dangerously high levels  in Saskatchewan, where flash flooding has occurred, and North Dakota where the city of Minot has evacuated about 14,000 people. Twenty-six Saskatchewan communities have declared states of emergency due to flooding. That water now heads into Manitoba. Its first hot spot is the town of Melita, already heavily diked against the flow. These pictures I took on Tuesday show Melita’s current water levels.

Dikes around Melita will be bolstered against the new higher flows. Downstream the communities of Wawanesa and Souris are bracing for the new onslaught expected over the next three weeks. Existing dikes in Wawanesa will need come up eight feet to protect the town!  The Souris River drains into the Assiniboine which will continue to be heavily diverted north into Lake Manitoba, exacerbating the flood problems around its shore. In the past couple of days, more evacuations have occurred around the lake in the RM of Siglunes, town of Alonsa and Lake Manitoba First Nations. Watch a short video of flooding at Lake Manitoba Narrows. At this time, 2,649 Manitobans are evacuated from their homes. These pictures show more of the devastation at Twin Lakes Beach.

                                                                                                                                                             The excessive rainfall has saturated the prairies. Total rainfall between April 1 to June 21 at many locations in Saskatchewan and Manitoba is approaching annual totals. For example, Weyburn, SK has received 82% of annual normal precipitation (342 mm), Melita 51 per cent (516 mm), Souris 65 per cent (518 mm) and Brandon 61 per cent (472 mm). It’s a sunny, muggy day in Manitoba today and similar in southeast Saskatchewan. However, more rain is ahead for the Souris River basin this weekend.

There are currently 31 states of local emergency (SoLE) and five prevention orders. Since the Manitoba Emergency Co-ordination Centre opened in early April for spring flooding, there have been 67 SoLEs and 31 prevention orders declared across the province by local authorities.

I took these next three pictures on Tuesday. My friend Chris surveys inundated Riverside Park, where the Souris River crosses Hwy #10 south of Brandon. The Souris River flows toward an old bridge next to the park then the view downstream.

The prairies remain vigilant for sudden flooding and unexpected rainfall amounts.

I am working on an update about Spruce Woods Provincial Park for posting over the next two days. Keep your powder dry.

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Filed under Flood, Natural Places, Saskatchewan

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