Flood worries ease in Swan River

Flood worries have eased in the town of Swan River, since the area declared a local state of emergency Tuesday evening to prepare for rising river levels.
High water levels on the Swan River have prompted crews to place sandbags around some homes on Tuesday. (Submitted by Glen McKenzie)

Flood worries have eased in the town of Swan River, since the area declared a local state of emergency Tuesday evening to prepare for rising river levels.

Provincial flood officials issued a warning Tuesday afternoon for the western Manitoba town, saying they expected the river of the same name to reach flood levels within 12 to 24 hours.

But it appears the river didn't rise dramatically overnight, Mayor Glen Mackenzie told CBC News on Wednesday morning.

About 20 houses are protected by sandbags and Mackenzie said the water is still about three metres away from them.

Town officials have been closely monitoring the river and have flood tubes ready if necessary, though it doesn't seem they will be.

Although the state of emergency is still in place, town officials might lift it later today.

It was initially declared shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday and a request was issued for volunteers to help place sandbags on Duncan Crescent.

But after a meeting Wednesday morning, Mackenzie said predictions had been adjusted and the town was expecting only two to three inches of flooding, rather than 12.

Volunteers help with sandbagging in Swan River, Man., late Tuesday. (Submitted by Glen McKenzie)

While there's a way to go before any flooding happens, residents are ready for whatever happens, said Derek Poole, the Town of Swan River's superintendent of public works.

"There's not a big buzz going around right now per se, but I think everybody's prepared," he said Tuesday afternoon.

"Everyone in the low-lying areas has been through this before so it's nothing new … we went through this two years ago."

Local emergency measures co-ordinator Daryl Chartrand said crews were focused on low-lying areas.

"If it starts to get a little too high, we're going to get everybody together," said local emergency measures co-ordinator Daryl Chartrand.

Poole said most of the town's riverside properties are privately owned, but the town can help out with equipment and volunteers.

A dike was built up on public property on the river after the 2011 flood, he added.

The province says there is a moderate risk of ice piling up on Swan Lake near Swan River and on the south shores of Lake Winnipeg, where there may be shifting ice.

Meanwhile, officials say they don't believe Highway 75 at Morris will have to close, even with unfavourable weather conditions.

Flows on the upstream portion of the Assiniboine River basin in Saskatchewan appear to be near the crest, according to the province.