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Delta Beach residents stare down winds amid high water

Flood defences hold in face of powerful storm

Water from the Assiniboine River covers farmland bordering Brandon's Grand Valley Road on Sunday afternoon.

TIM SMITH / BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

Water from the Assiniboine River covers farmland bordering Brandon's Grand Valley Road on Sunday afternoon.

Winds wreaked havoc over the weekend through parts of the province, but residents along the shore of Lake Manitoba remained stoic.

They were worried about the wind, but no more than usual. It's something they've seen before and will see again, said Kam Blight, reeve of the RM of Portage la Prairie, which includes Delta Beach.

Blight said he was out on the lake at Delta Sunday evening and everything was holding steady.

"Everything seemed to be OK. There's definitely higher winds and waves, but so far everything is fine out at Delta (Beach)," Blight said.

Residents of Delta Beach are watching the waves closely, he said, but they've been through this before.

"I'm sure people are concerned. I think they're always going to be on high alert" when the winds are this high," he said.

The City of Winnipeg received 102 calls from Friday to Sunday morning for downed trees and branches or split trunks, a city spokesman said.

The storm didn't bring much rain, so there was no above-normal number of calls for sewer backups or basement flooding. Most of the damage done by the storm was due to the wind, the spokesman said.

The Red River's levels dropped to the point the Winnipeg floodway gates began to be lowered Sunday. The operation of the floodway will gradually be shut down, the province announced.

Provincial emergency workers monitored flood protections as the province issued a wind warning for the second day in a row and extended it into today.

"The Manitoba government advises wind warnings are in place for (Sunday), (Sunday night) and (today) for the south basin of Lake Winnipeg and the southern shorelines of Lake Manitoba, Lake Winnipegosis, Lake of the Woods and Dauphin Lake," the province said in its daily flood bulletin Sunday.

That high-wind warning remained in effect Sunday and today for the south shoreline of Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba.

A moderate lake-wind-effect warning was issued through today for the south shoreline of Dauphin Lake and the east shoreline of Oak Lake.

Manitoba Hydro crews worked until late Saturday after windstorms toppled trees and knocked out power to 6,000 households in Winnipeg and thousands more across the province.

The winds knocked down trees that toppled hydro poles and sparked fires in transmitters from one end of the province to another.

Winnipeg was hit hard but it was also easier to restore power to hydro customers in the city.

"The storm that rolled through the city about 4 p.m. (Saturday) caused outages for 6,000 customers. Most were restored by about 7 p.m.," Manitoba Hydro spokeswoman Andrea Gruber said Sunday.

Sporadic outages followed across the city with repair crews working until 11 p.m. Saturday when most customers had their power back.

The swath of wind damage was widespread. The hardest-hit areas were East Kildonan near Chief Peguis Trail, South Osborne and St. Boniface by Southdale and River Park South. The other area hard-hit by outages was West Broadway by Misericordia Health Centre. Power stayed on at Misericordia.

Outside the city, the wind damage was harder to track and restore because hundreds of individual cottages and homes lost power. Restoring electricity sent crews to work in inaccessible areas, including swamps. In some cases crews had to reach areas by water, Gruber said.

"There was significant damage all across the province," the spokeswoman said.

On the Assiniboine River, meanwhile, flood protection in Brandon was holding. The province said river levels should drop today.

At the Portage Diversion, flows on the Assiniboine River were rising Sunday due to the advancing crest.

The second crest at the Portage Reservoir is forecast to be 52,000 to 53,000 cubic feet per second today and will stay high for a few days before dropping back, the province said in its flood bulletin.

The province said it's keeping the Hoop and Holler bend ready for a controlled breach if an urgent situation arises.

 

-- with files from Oliver Sachgau

alexandra.paul@freepress.mb.ca

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Updated on Monday, July 14, 2014 at 8:19 AM CDT:
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