City crews are monitoring dikes around the clock as the second summer crest of the Assiniboine River reaches Brandon.
The river is expected to peak today through Sunday, according to a revised forecast from the province.
"We know that our dike is high enough and that we have some additional capacity to manage a rain event," said Brian Kayes, the city’s director of risk and emergency management.
"Of course, we will remain vigilant and continue to monitor the dikes and pumps on a 24-hour basis, until this is all completed."
The second peak is expected to be slightly higher than the initial July 6 crest, but very close to 2011 levels.
As of 4 p.m. Thursday, the river level at First Street was measured at 1,182.4 feet above sea level. In 2011, the river peaked at 1,182.89 feet.
The revised forecast estimates peak flows of 34,000 to 36,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). The peak water flow during the 2011 flood was 36,730 cfs.
Originally the second crest was expected to come late next week, at a lower level than the first peak.
The wet side of the dike at Grand Valley Road was fortified on Wednesday. Crews laid rock along the front to act as a wave break, Kayes said, in case it gets windy and starts to erode.
"This structure will be in place for a few weeks, and we must ensure it has the structural integrity to be able to stand there for that length of time," he said.
The city had some issues with a manhole by the Hydro Generating Station on Wednesday, and crews worked for several hours on the problem. Kayes said the leak is now under control.
People are reminded to stay away from the dikes and avoid 18th Street North whenever possible.
"When we were trying to do the work on Grand Valley dike, there were people that were there sightseeing," Kayes said.
"Although they’re not right at the river’s edge, what they’re doing is causing issues for everybody that’s trying to get through there, the construction people trying to get through with their equipment and supplies of clay and rocks, emergency vehicles trying to get through there as well — so, it may be interesting but there’s really not a lot to see."
Meanwhile, the province’s Emergency Measures Organization is now accepting applications for disaster financial assistance for those who have experienced damage to their properties due to high water or recent storms. Application forms can be picked up at city hall, or by visiting gov.mb.ca/emo. The city reminds residents to take photos and document everything before work is completed.
To help with the application process, EMO will have a mobile recovery van stationed in Brandon on the east side of the Keystone Centre grounds next Wednesday and Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
» Twitter: @jillianaustin
Replacement water gauge in place on bridge
A new Environment Canada water gauge has been installed on the Thompson Bridge to monitor Assiniboine River water flow, after the original gauge at Grand Valley Road succumbed to floodwaters.
Water Survey of Canada, an Environment Canada program, installed the gauge to provide real-time water flow data at wateroffice.ec.gc.ca.
Meanwhile, the City of Brandon measures the river on its own at First Street. There had been an automatic gauge located there, but it had been providing inaccurate data earlier this summer.
"It would randomly give erroneous readings, and just became sort of impossible for us to sort it out," said Brian Kayes, the city’s director of risk and emergency management.
To ensure accurate readings, the city has been manually measuring the Assiniboine River levels since at least the beginning of July.
"It’s a little more time consuming and a little more difficult if you want to do it at night," he said.
Kayes said they plan to replace the gauge at First Street with something that’s "bigger, better, faster," but that won’t happen until after the current crisis has passed.
» Brandon Sun