By Tyler Clarke
TWO BORDERS — Raylene Lamport is waiting for what volunteer firefighter Dave Lamb referred to as "a wall of water" to hit her Municipality of Two Borders property by Sunday.
In anticipation of the water influx, volunteers from the Melita and Area Fire Department and Pierson Fire Hall installed a "Tiger Dam" around the Lamport household on Saturday, while family members moved livestock and farm equipment to a nearby property situated on higher ground.
"We’re just very lucky to have the house protected," Lamport said as volunteer firefighters encircled her home with the unique diking system, on loan from the province as a result of the municipality calling a state of emergency on Thursday.
The "Tiger Dam's" long plastic tubes will be filled with water, with two circling the property as a base and a third water-filled tube stacked on top.
This was the first time area fire departments have tackled floods using this method, Lamb, a member of the Melita department, said.
It should work, Lamport said, optimistic that this flood mitigative effort should prove more successful than previous years’ sandbagging, which failed to prevent her basement from flooding.
At the property since 1972, she said that they’d seen floods about 10 of those years, most recently in 2011 and 2014.
Lamport’s property is just north of the Highway 85 and Highway 345 intersection, directly north of Melita.
Throughout Saturday, Head of Council Debbie McMechan was busy on the phone in her Pierson municipal office, where calls came in on a steady basis from residents expressing flood concerns.
People are still feeling shaken from the 2014 floods so are being extra cautious this spring by reporting early, McMechan said.
This might not be a bad thing given how quickly things can go from bad to worse, she said, clarifying that this year’s flood situation does not appear to be as serious as the one that took place three years ago.
While some areas had improved since the state of emergency was declared on Thursday night, she said that others have gotten worse.
It’s an expansive municipality that responds to the recent and rapid snowmelt differently depending on the area, wherein water flows north.
Some emergencies have already been put to bed, such as a hog operation just south of Melita that was in danger of becoming inaccessible to the outside world as a result of access roads being washed away.
While they’ve been able to maintain access there, at least six property owners continue to face similar concerns, McMechan said.
In a flood update issued by the Government of Manitoba on Saturday, it was noted that overland flooding continues to occur throughout much of southern Manitoba due to the presence of ice in the drainage network; a problem that has been further complicated by ice jamming on some major rivers and smaller tributaries.
The update notes that temperatures across southern Manitoba are above average and that these warm temperatures are expected to continue melting snow, with snowpack remaining in much of Westman.
Up-to-date flood information can be found at www.gov.mb.ca/flooding/ or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MBGov.
The Brandon Sun will also continue to monitor the situation throughout the weekend and will provide a more in-depth update on Sunday.
» Twitter: @TylerClarkeMB