COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN
Storm clouds roil in the skies over Deloraine on Monday afternoon. More than 100 millimetres of rain fell over the weekend, with 127 millimetres at Brandon’s airport, leaving a swath of flooding and damage across southwestern Manitoba.
Disaster financial assistance is on the horizon for many communities in southwestern Manitoba. The effects of the weekend storm and overland flooding caused infrastructure damage, sewer backup and other problems throughout the area.
Agriculture Minister Ron Kostyshyn, left, Premier Greg Selinger and Brandon-Souris Conservative MP Larry Maguire speak with media on Tuesday in Brandon. The three toured flooded areas of Westman, including Deloraine and Melita. (MEGAN LANE/BRANDON SUN)
A Dakota Ojibway Police Service vehicle crosses a bridge over a swollen creek to check on evacuated houses on the north side of Sioux Valley Dakota Nation northwest of Brandon on Monday. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
Sandbags surround a portion of a home inundated with water on King Street in Virden as the Gopher Creek continued to rise on Monday. As of late Tuesday, Virden was among 34 communities that declared states of local emergency. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
Damage to Veterans Way is seen after heavy weekend rainfall left a swath of flooding across southwestern Manitoba. More than 100 mm of rain fell, with 127 mm being recorded at the Brandon airport. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)
The approach to the Brandon airport is seen after heavy weekend rainfall left a swath of flooding across southwestern Manitoba. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)
City crews clear fallen branches from Louise Avenue near 12th Street after a weekend of violent wind and rain on Monday. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)
"We don’t know yet what the cost of this will be," said Premier Greg Selinger. "It will depend on what happens over the next few days, but we do expect that claims will be made for disaster financial assistance."
Selinger started his tour of the southwestern Manitoba areas effected by flooding in Brandon on Tuesday morning. Other stops included Deloraine and Melita.
"We definitely will be asking for money, not so much for repairs as to cover the costs of the preventative measures," said Melita councillor Bill Holden. "If we had not been in on Monday morning, business would have flooded."
Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization encourages residents to take appropriate action and keep track of expenses and losses. Recording damages with pictures and spending costs will help to make individual claims for disaster financial assistance later.
Officials in Virden and Hartney also confirmed that they will be putting in applications for disaster funding from the province.
"The town did take appropriate steps through the whole process, so it will be ready to put together the application later on," said Virden Mayor Jeff McConnell. "It is not a priority at this time."
Communities and the province are concerned about the swell of water that will be making its way from Saskatchewan through the river systems. Municipalities, including the City of Brandon, worked Tuesday to prepare for the unknown amount of water that could cause further flooding and damage.
"Our emergency measures officials are in constant communication with mayors and reeves to ensure that everyone is taken care of," Selinger said.
A conservation helicopter to be used for medical response in Westman was anticipated to arrived at the Brandon Municipal Airport (McGill Field) on Tuesday. The helicopter was requested by many municipalities with large amounts of road closure causing safety concerns.
By late Tuesday, 34 municipalities had declared states of local emergency, mostly in the Westman region.
"We are working with the department of Conservation to move the helicopter to Brandon," Selinger said. "This will make transportation to hospitals in emergency situations much easier."
The province had not been made aware of any circumstances over the weekend when the helicopter would have been needed, but Selinger said it is better safe than sorry.
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 2, 2014