Towns and rural municipalities in southwestern Manitoba are struggling to deal with severe amounts of overland flooding caused by weekend rain.
Environment Canada’s severe weather centre estimated areas between Virden and Moosomin were hit with between 150 mm and 200 mm of rain from Friday to Sunday morning.
The RM of Pipestone was hit hard on Saturday night, causing the evacuation of roughly 30 residents in the village of Cromer starting at 3 a.m.
“We evacuated people and declared a state of emergency early (Sunday) morning,” said Reeve Ross Tycoles. “It was not hard to do because much of the town was up anyways.”
River levels were thought to be contained on Saturday evening, Tycoles said. RM officials believe something must have been damaged up stream to cause flooding so quickly in Cromer.
The RM also spent Sunday morning sandbagging in Reston in an attempt to keep flooding at a minimum.
“Almost all the roads throughout the RM have water flowing on or across them,” Tycoles said.
Similar issues in the neighbouring RM of Wallace caused a full road closure throughout the municipality. Travel within the area was only advised in cases of emergency and RM staff cautioned residents from driving through water over roads.
Tundra Place in Virden has been set up as an evacuation centre for the RM of Wallace. Anyone needing to evacuate should call the RM office at 204-748-1239.
The excessive rainfall has caused both the RMs of Pipestone and Wallace to declare states of emergency. These are only two of many local emergencies that have been initiated in municipalities along the Saskatchewan border in the last few weeks.
In total, 24 municipalities across the province are under states of emergency, including the RMs of Arthur, Edward, Cornwallis, Virden, Miniota and the towns of Oak Lake, Roblin and Hartney. The province has also issued a high water advisory for all rivers and streams in the Parkland region including the Riding and Duck mountains, and Dauphin Lake basin.
A weekend of heavy rain has also caused problems in many areas of Westman.
“There is water as high as the trampoline,” said Olga Wasteste of Sioux Valley Dakota Nation. “My family is being evacuated and small vehicles cannot be driven because of the currents.”
Sioux Valley evacuated roughly 96 residents and several homes on the north side of the reserve were without power due to severe flooding issues. Wasteste
said she has lived in Sioux Valley all her life, but has never seen flooding of this magnitude.
Environment Canada predicted showers throughout today and with the risk of a late-afternoon thunderstorm, followed by rain on Tuesday.
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 30, 2014