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Flood waters threaten homes along Birdtail Creek

Troy Richard of Waywayseecappo First Nation takes photos of the high water butting up against an old rail line embankment at the first nation late Saturday evening. A frozen culvert has caused water from a tributary of Birdtail Creek to build up at the embankment. According to a government issued flood bulletin  released Sunday morning the embankment is failing which will lead to a surge of water that will affect communities downstream such as Waywayseecappo, Rossburn, Birtile, Miniota and Birdtail Sioux First Nation. (Tim Smith/Brandon Sun)

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Troy Richard of Waywayseecappo First Nation takes photos of the high water butting up against an old rail line embankment at the first nation late Saturday evening. A frozen culvert has caused water from a tributary of Birdtail Creek to build up at the embankment. According to a government issued flood bulletin released Sunday morning the embankment is failing which will lead to a surge of water that will affect communities downstream such as Waywayseecappo, Rossburn, Birtile, Miniota and Birdtail Sioux First Nation. (Tim Smith/Brandon Sun)

BIRTLE — An embankment holding back water on a tributary of Birdtail Creek is failing, threatening homes along the waterway.

A surge of water, which could flow as quickly as 20,000 to 30,000 cubic feet per second, is expected to travel down Birdtail Creek and will affect communities downstream, including Waywayseecappo First Nation, Birtle and Birdtail Sioux First Nation, according to a government-issued flood bulletin.

Waywayseecappo First Nation, where some low-lying homes were evacuated as a precaution last night, will see the water in the next few hours. Once the embankment gives way, the government says the water will reach Wayway in one to four hours after the release, Birtle in nine to 12 hours and Birdtail Sioux First Nation 12 to 15 hours after release.

Water may go over some roads in the area and there could be damage to bridges in the town of Birtle and Manitoba Infrastructure & Transportation has closed off Highway 45 running through Wayway as flood preparation continues.

On Saturday, Manitoba's Emergency Measures Organization descended on Birtle as the town braced itself for possible flooding.

EMO workers and volunteer firefighters started setting up aqua dikes and the down placed five concrete barriers on a midtown bridge to hold it down.

The breach is due to the blocking of a box culvert by ice. This resulted in a significant volume of water building-up behind a former railroad embankment (now part of the Trans Canada Trail) just upstream of Highway 45.

Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization and Manitoba Infrastructure & Transportation continue to work with stakeholders and communities in the area to continue assessing and monitoring the situation.

» Brandon Sun

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