Three families have been forced to leave their homes in the western Manitoba community of Waterhen, as an ice jam a nearby river continues to create flooding conditions.

Frazil ice, a slush caused by the formation ofice crystals in fast-moving water, has formed on the mouth of the Waterhen River where it flows into Lake Manitoba. After the river's water levels rose about 30 centimetres in a 24-hour period, the provincial government issued an emergency prevention order for Waterhen on Nov. 16.

Last week, four houses in the community of about 200, located about 80 kilometres north of Dauphin, were sandbagged to protect them from rising water levels. A total of 12 homes will have been sandbagged by the end of day Monday.

The province also has an Amphibex ice-breaking machine standing by in the community in case it's needed.

"It worked in the mouth of the river for the first part of this flood, and present ice conditions are not conducive to its operation," David Schafer, the on-site commander at the Waterhen flood operations, said on Monday.

"So it is presently stored here in the community in case it is needed."

Schafer said water levels were fairly stable on Monday, but warned it could change because warm weather isforecast.

He said the community is currently adding more sandbags in case there is more flooding next spring.