It could get interesting

Friday, April 26

Our house surround by a massive dike which encircles our ¾ acre yard.

Roxane Lucrece Anderson

Roxame lives in Breezy Point where she is President of the Flood Prone Ratepayers Group of St. Andrews.

That's all I can say when asked if I'm worried about this flood season.  Living north of the floodway outlet in Lockport, and 18 miles south where the Red River meets Lake Winnipeg, we worry now. Yet this morning, the river ice is still at a comfortable level. I had to wade through icy cold spring runoff that has gathered in the low spot in our pasture to reach the upper river bank. This time yesterday morning, I was still able to get to ice level but now there is water in the lower bank, and I don't own hip waders. What a difference the above zero temperature did during the night. Yet one would think that our house, situated on a ridge, located 215 metres west of the river, would be far enough away from any flood threat. But that wasn't the case in April 2009.

"You won't have any worries now!" Visitors say this when they see the massive ring dike, completed in November 2012 that encases our home and garage. We feel good about it too. Yet once the dike was built, we couldn't celebrate it, while many home owners remained not flood protected, and a dike party would seem like bragging.

I can't remember a colder April. With warming temperatures, the heavy snow melt on the dike and in the yard site is melting now. We have been pumping water out over the dike all week. That is a new task for us. At least this season, I did not have to pack up the house and move everything out like we did in 2011. Still, waiting for spring break up is the hardest part. We have nightmares still.

Recently, someone reminded me about a family who used to live a couple of miles north of us. During the flood of 2009, they had spent the night on their roof. Other families living across the river were found huddled on their kitchen counters, waiting for rescue. These families had ring dikes. Will that be our fate? Should I be packing some of our belongings? Are we the new Breezy Point?
 
This is our first flood season with the new dike and my husband John doesn't think it will be high enough. He thinks the flood will wash us out.  He talks about what the floodwaters will do inside the house, how the furniture will be floating and banging against the walls. John blames the floodway authority, and asks what more water is coming? Why did they build a bridge outside of Lockport that is ten feet higher than the old one? We have a ladder up against our house now.
 
Tomorrow is my niece's 18th birthday and I don't want to miss her party. Although we have our flood protection, the provincial roads here were never raised and a fast melt could mean overland flooding and roads could close. If I leave the area, I would not be allowed to return home. Then again, the river ice is blocked at Selkirk Park and experience tells me that we won't have open water for another few days.  Although after living in this area on the Red River since 1971, I can no longer rely on past experience. How things have changed.
 
So with warmer temperatures predicted for today, my flood fever is going to soar, yes, this day could get interesting.  I pray that no one floods and that my neighbours and others, who are still awaiting their flood protection, will stay dry.
 
We will be watching and worrying this weekend. After all, it's what we do now since 2009.  And with the houses and cottages north of us bought out, it feels like we now live on the edge of the world.

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