Nervous watch continues on icy Red River
An uneasy watch continues in Selkirk, Man., as area residents cope with a massive ice jam on the Red River.
Provincial officials continue to warn about the possibility of flash floods in the area along the river north of Winnipeg.
A stretch of the Red River several kilometres long is jammed with thick chunks of frazil ice, a slushy formation caused when turbulent water is cooled below freezing temperature, but doesn't immediately form ice.
Several homes along the river's banks are protected by sandbag dikes while their owners keep a nervous eye on the river, which has already flooded Selkirk's golf course, the Marine Museum of Manitoba and two riverfront highrises.
"We put in about 1,000 sandbags," said Pat Pellaers, who has icy river water lapping at her backyard.
"It doesn't look like much, but that's what's there. If need be, we'll put in a second row and go from there."
While homeowners keep watch on water levels, Darrell Kupchik, head of emergency measures for Selkirk, is most immediately concerned about what's happening in the water under all that ice.
"Water levels have fluctuated slightly, dropping in some areas and rising in others," he said.
So far, damage appears relatively minimal— but the bridge that spans the river from the city's downtown has taken a beating.The steel-and-wood bridge is closed.
"We're going to look at that bridge closely,"Kupchik said."It did take a big hit when we experienced a mini-wave of crushed ice."
The Manitoba Water Stewardship said water levels could start to drop once the ice breaks up under the jam.
"It's hard to say how long this is going to move, or how long this is going to sit," Kupchik said."What we need is just a good heating of the ice."
Southern Manitoba has experienced a cold snap in recent days, but the forecast calls for temperatures to inch back into the normal range— above the freezing point during the day— this week.