Rising river levels have sent water across a road in Brandon, Manitoba's second-largest city, and officials are bracing for the Assiniboine River to crest this weekend.

The southbound lanes of 1st Street in Brandon were closed between Kirkcaldy Drive and Pacific Avenue on Friday, and city officials told CBC News they are closely watching the northbound lanes.

That area is a low spot in the city, right along a couple of bends in the twisty Assiniboine River.

The city is preparing pre-evacuation notices for people living near the river. They will be delivered Friday night and through the weekend.

No immediate evacuations are planned, however. The notices are intended to prepare people in case an evacuation is called, officials said.

The crest was expected to arrive in the Brandon area between July 10 and 12 but has since been moved up to Saturday at noon local time.

Brandon's emergency coordinator Brian Kayes said the river is expected to rise another metre before cresting.

Dinsdale Park

Brandon's Dinsdale Park is under water these days. (Caroline Barghout/CBC)

Officials believe they have a handle on the situation but said Mother Nature can always throw a curve ball their way and anything could happen — especially with rain in the forecast.

Environment Canada said their is a risk of a severe thunderstorm Friday evening and another thunderstorm on Saturday evening. Rain is also in the forecast for Monday. 

A Brandon info line has been set up for anyone with questions: 204-729-2186.

Meanwhile, the number of Manitoba municipalities and communities that have declared states of local emergency rose to 50 late Friday.

At least 698 Manitobans have had to leave their homes due to flooding so far this year, including about 160 evacuees from two communities during floods this past spring.

Of that, at least 145 are from the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, located between Brandon and Virden. Of the 330 homes on the reserve, 45 are flooded.

The flooding has been caused by torrential rains last weekend in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

A total of 75 communities in Saskatchewan are under states of local emergency and much of the water that flooded them is now moving into Manitoba.

In St. Francis Xavier, located just west of Winnipeg along the Assiniboine River, people are preparing for levels that could be higher than the last big flood in 2011.

Robert Poirier, the CAO for the Rural Municipality of St. Francis Xavier, said they were informed by the province Thursday night to expect the river to rise to the height of 2011 plus another foot.

In 2011, four homes had water up against the sandbags that surrounded their home. If the water goes higher this year, an untold number of homes could be affected, Poirier said.

That water should reach them within the next week to 10 days.

Homeowners are being provided with empty sand bags and expertise on how to build and stack them — the municipality will not be preparing the sandbags for them, Poirier said.

Each home would need at least 2,000 sandbags and there is no way the RM could make enough in time, he said, noting that in 2011, the province provided prepared sandbags for the community.

But crews will be doing what they can, and that includes using machinery to move some earth on Friday and fill in low spots near a couple of homes.

There is good news on the flood front, however. In Virden, many evacuees are being allowed to return home, so long as there is no water in their basements.

If the basement is dry, the hydro power can be restored.

As for the rest of the evacuees across Manitoba, they still have to wait and see.


Flooded road in Brandon

Southbound lanes of 1st Street in Brandon are closed between Kirkcaldy Drive and Pacific Avenue