TIM SMITH/THE CANADIAN PRESS
The swollen Assiniboine River covers farmland east of Brandon as seen from the air on Sunday.
The Assiniboine River has crested in Brandon after a week of hard work from the public and city officials to deal with flooding issues throughout the city.
Sisters Sadies and Emma Poczik play in their grandparents’ above ground pool unfazed by floodwaters being held back by a dike and super sandbags just beyond them on the south side of Grand Valley Road west of Marsden Road on Saturday. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
"I want to thank everyone again for all there efforts over the last week," Mayor Shari Decter Hirst said.
Provincial officials said that the crest happened on Sunday morning and levels were holding steady into the afternoon.
The river level was 1182.64 feet above sea level measured at First Street on Sunday morning, Brian Kayes the city’s emergency coordinator said. The crest came just shy of the 2011 record.
But they are warning that levels downstream, in particular past Portage la Prairie, could be up to a foot higher than they were in 2011.
"If we get hit with more serious inclement weather river levels could be affected again," Doug McNeil, deputy minister of Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation said.
Flooding related issues will continue in the city following the crest.
The river is expected to stay relatively high for the next several weeks. A second crest lower than the first is expected around July 17 and 18.
"Residents still need to stay away from the river, dikes and overland flooded areas," police Sgt. Larry Yanick said. "It is dangerous and we need residents to use their common sense and not put themselves in danger."
Brandon Police Service has made their first charge for swimming in the river. One swimmer was charged more than $100 with trespassing.
Despite severe weather on Saturday evening, the city remains confident that the dike system will be able to hold against the heavy flows. City workers have fortified low spots and there is about two feet of dike left above the current river levels.
"We have the resources in place should something happen to cause evacuations," Kayes said. "Please make arrangements to stay with friends or family should you be evacuated because the city does not have enough hotel rooms."
The city does not expect to have to evacuate people, but have taken precautionary measures to inform upwards of 2,500 people in about 900 residents what the evacuation plans are.
The City of Brandon is one of 54 municipalities currently under states of local emergency. Brandon’s state of emergency will be in effect until July 28 unless Brandon City Council chooses to extend it at a later date.
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 7, 2014