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UPDATE: Provincial state of emergency continues

The Assiniboine River pours over the northbound lanes of First Street North in Brandon on Friday morning.

JILLIAN AUSTIN / BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

The Assiniboine River pours over the northbound lanes of First Street North in Brandon on Friday morning.

Assiniboine River crest in Brandon and Portage will come later than the province had anticipated yesterday.

The southbound lanes of First Street North in Brandon are completely submerged beneath the rising Assiniboine River on Friday morning.

Enlarge Image

The southbound lanes of First Street North in Brandon are completely submerged beneath the rising Assiniboine River on Friday morning. (JILLIAN AUSTIN / BRANDON SUN)

Brandon is expected to crest around midnight Saturday just below 2011 levels.

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"It is a very dynamic situation and forecasts continue to change," said Premier Greg Selinger Saturday afternoon.

The controlled breach at the Hoop and Holler Bend is considered a last resort. Should there be concern for an uncontrolled breach, a controlled breach will be made in the same spot as 2011.

After an inspection of the dike system on Friday, the province said the dikes are in better shape than they had expected. Work to reinforce the dike in 12 spots began on Saturday.

"We put $20 million into work on the dikes before and during the 2011 flood," said Doug McNeil. deputy minister of Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation. "Another $10 million worth of work has been done since then."

The province declared a Manitoba-wide state of emergency Friday morning, and issued a request for help from the military to deal with a sudden surge of flooding. 

Around 400 military personnel are expected to be on the ground by Saturday night, to help with protecting homes in the Hoop and Holler Bend inundation zone and reinforcing the dike system. 

"When we do this together, we will get through this as best we can," Premier Greg Selinger said at a press conference Friday morning at the Manitoba Legislative Building.

The state of emergency took effect as of noon on Friday, with an emergency command centre established in Portage.

"The good news is people know what they are doing," Selinger said. "Unfortunately, these people have dealt with this before and know what will need to be done."

Dozens of communities and rural municipalities have already declared their own states of emergency, as they struggle to cope with huge rises in river and creek levels in the wake of record-breaking rainfall last month.

The province will have a mobile recovery office set up in Virden from July 6 to 8. It will offer help and support through the process of applying for disaster financial assistance for those affected by "unprecedented overland flooding."

The ability to declare a provincial state of emergency was one of the recommendations from the 2011 flood report.  

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