The Qu'Appelle River water level is peaking in St. Lazare, Man., late Friday, about 2.1 metres below the top of the community dam, the provincial government says.

Now officials said they are focusing on shoring up flood protection in The Pas, including building a sandbag dike on the Carrot River.

Two Amphibex machines, floating excavators, are in the area breaking up ice on the Carrot and Saskatchewan rivers.

Recent rain in southwest Manitoba won't drive up the level of crests, but it will prolong the length of floods, officials said.  

While the crest in  St. Lazare —  a French-speaking community of about 265 that is near the Saskatchewan border — is a relief, its location where the Qu'Appelle and Assiniboine rivers meet leaves it open to a second peak from the Assiniboine, which may not peak for a week.

St. Lazare residents have been preparing for the onslaught, and have built up the dikes, the CBC's Wab Kinew reported from the town.

But eight homes outside the community dike have put up temporary sandbag barriers, and residents have left three of those houses. Water is lapping over secondary dikes protecting sheds and farm buildings outside the town.

More than 905 people in Manitoba have been forced from their homes because the Souris, Assiniboine and Red rivers have spilled over their banks in some places.

Most evacuations have been precautionary, as officials are more worried about roads being washed out, which would isolate people who might need assistance.

On Thursday, the Roseau River First Nation evacuated166 medically vulnerable people and seniors from the community due to concerns about safe road access because of rising water, the provincial government said.

Another 50 people left the rural municipalities of Montcalm and Ritchot, and about 690 remained outside their homes from the Peguis First Nation, where residents began leaving April 13.

In Melita, in the southwest corner of Manitoba, the Souris River is very high and will remain near the crest for the next two or three days, the government said. Citizens are monitoring the community dikes because the water is within a few centimetres of the tops.

The revised crest forecast for Souris and points on the Souris River downstream of the town has been increased by more than 15 centimetres.  Those crests are expected to happen in the next week.

The Red River is forecast to crest in Emerson, on the U.S. border,  between April 25 and 27.  The government forecast is predicting a peak in Winnipeg below the 2009 crest, but there will be "prolonged high water levels in Winnipeg after the crest passes."

Weather favours Saskatchewan

In Saskatchewan, emergency services director Duane McKay said the cold weather has allowed workers to catch up with rising waters. 

However, water may begin rising a bit by Sunday or early nest week.

There's still a lot of snow in northeast and north-central locations like Foam Lake, Fishing Lake and Yorkton, and the Frenchman River could rise in communities like Frontier, Eastend and Val Marie.

Potential flooding in those communities will depend on how quickly  temperatures rise this weekend.

Eight people have left their homes in the Standing Buffalo First Nation as floods threaten from the east and west. The community, about 75 kilometres northeast of Regina, declared a state of emergency Wednesday.

Chief Rodger Redmen said the government could have done a better job planning and preparing for towns affected in the Qu'Appelle River Valley.

Redmen said he plans to have a wall over a metre tall built behind the school to prevent flood damage.


Many regions across the Prairie provinces are at a high risk of flooding this spring. (CBC)