The Manitoba village of St. Lazare is swamped by flood water that has left many homes on small islands barricaded by sandbags.

A bridge is already under water and up to a dozen homes — those needing sandbags — are at risk.

St. Lazare Mayor Martin Dupont said the water is already higher than in the spring flood of 2011, with farmland in the valley under by nearly a metre.

"This water is fast moving, fast rising," Dupont said. "I think it's caught a few folks by surprise."

St. Lazare is in western Manitoba, close to the Saskatchewan border, at the forks of the Assiniboine River and Qu’Appelle River.

​Record rainfall on the Canada Day long weekend, in both Saskatchewan and Manitoba, has led to swollen rivers, creeks and streams, and extreme overland flooding in many places.

More than 100 communities in both provinces have declared local states of emergency, with Manitoba in a provincial state of emergency since Friday.

Hundreds of military members are helping to sandbag homes and shore up dikes in numerous communities in southern Manitoba.

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger said his priority is making sure people and properties are safe as they battle the water, which is coming faster than expected, as seen with an early crest in Brandon on Sunday afternoon.

Flooded bridge

A bridge in St. Lazare, Man., is submerged by rising river levels. (Courtesy Connie Chartier-Tanguay)

“We're seeing it show up as early as today in the Portage la Prairie area and so it does put enormous stress on people to respond more rapidly. That's why we mobilized the military to have all those extra hands on deck, to be able to get those sandbags in place,” he said.

Once the flood has passed, Selinger said officials will review the event just as they did after 2011, which resulted in dikes being built up and many places being more protected this time around.

Improvements have been made in flood forecasting and getting better equipment, he said.

“But the reality is that we've seen these weather events come very quickly and change very rapidly,” he said.

“We've had about 200 per cent normal precipitation this year and these weather events have been piling on top of each other and creating the kind of conditions we're experiencing right now.”


Flooding in St. Lazare, July 7