Ice on the Assiniboine River started to break up along the south bank of the river on Tuesday. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
River ice on the Assiniboine is beginning to break up, but hasn’t begun to move, as water is starting to flow Brandon’s way from the Shellmouth reservoir.
The city says that the river, although it’s risen a bit lately, is still nearly three feet lower than what’s considered flood stage. They are planning for a worst-case scenario that could see the river rise another two feet higher than that — but even that level would be more than eight feet lower than the record-setting 2011 flood.
According to an updated posted by the city on Tuesday, flood preparations by the operations department remain on schedule.
Some storm sewer outfalls that carry melt and rain water to the river have been blocked with sandbags to prevent the river from backing up into the pipes. Plans are in place to block additional outfalls if and when the river level comes up to a level that requires protection. All pumps are in place on the south side of the dikes. Some pumps are in place on the north side of the dikes and others will be added over the next few days as required.
City workers also continue to fill sandbags for use by the province, if needed. A super sandbag dike has been placed along 18th Street and the province is prepared to close off access to Grand Valley Road if water encroaches onto the road.
More clay is being hauled and staged to be ready to close the 18th Street drainage channel when this becomes necessary. Workers will be on duty at all times to maintain pumps and monitor the dike, when this is required.
However, both weather and the Shellmouth reservoir will be an important factor in the coming days.
The province says that gates at Shellmouth will be opened slowly over the next 48 hours. That water will take about a week to reach Brandon.
Meanwhile, a high-water advisory continues for smaller tributaries and drains in the Dauphin and Swan River area. Tuesday’s snowfall is expected to cause water levels to rise, but they aren’t expected to overflow banks.
Ice jams against a bridge along the Whitemud River at the town of Gladstone caused some overland flooding Monday, however, levels on the Whitemud River upstream of Gladstone began dropping Tuesday.
The Seven Regions Health Centre in Gladstone required some minor sandbagging on a road access point, but the facility was not at risk. Ten homes experienced minor flooding but there were no evacuations.
» Brandon Sun
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 1, 2013