More heavy rain and wind is worrying officials in southwest Manitoba.
"It makes you feel kind of sick. We never anticipated, never in our wildest dreams did we think we'd be seeing a flood in July and now we're being threatened with [seeing] the [Portage] diversion open up again," said Kam Blight, reeve in the Rural Municipality of Portage.
"It's very concerning for us this late in the year."
- Windy, wet, cool — just plain ugly weather in Manitoba
- Flood watch issued for southwest Assiniboine River amid heavy rain
Environment Canada issued a wind warning for Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg on Thursday, and a heavy rain warning means the Assiniboine River is on the way up.
Manitoba officials with the Hydrologic Forecast and Water Management Centre issues a rainfall flood watch for the Assiniboine and Souris rivers, which received 280 to 300 per cent more precipitation than normal from Aug. 19 to Sept 1.
That's just after torrential rains at the beginning of July caused widespread, overland flooding in many rural areas, which were forced to declare states of emergency.
Provincial officials said it may be necessary to use the Portage Diversion if heavy rains continue, but they’d like to avoid that as the diversion — which redirects floodwater water from the Assiniboine into Lake Manitoba — needs critical repairs.
Blight said crews are still working hard to shore up Delta Beach, at the south edge of Lake Manitoba, and install wave breaks to protect property from high water levels.
More water sent through the diversion and into the lake, near Delta Beach, is not something Blight wants to see, but he knows Mother Nature will do what she wants.
"That's like the big concern for us and we're just grateful we have some of that wave mitigation in place," he said.
"We're just really hoping that the rainfalls don't materialize as they say and we hope the winds aren't as strong as they say as well."
A low pressure system in southeastern Saskatchewan is to blame for the bad weather, Environment Canada says. The system will track across southwestern Manitoba before moving off into northwestern Ontario.
It has already resulted in heavy rain to some areas, especially near the Yellowhead highway and around Riding Mountain National Park. According to Environment Canada, as of 10 a.m. Shoal Lake had received 43 millimetres with Wasagaming reporting 36 mm.
Donald Yanick, mayor for the RM of Shoal Lake, said if the rain continues the community might need to declare another state of emergency.
He said roads are covered with water and farmers aren't able to get equipment onto their land for harvest.
"I have probably never been as frustrated in my life as I have been in the past few days. We just can't seem to get rid of the water," Yanick said.
Farmers trying to cope
Walter Finlay read 11 mm of rain in his guage on his farm in Souris Thursday – far more than what was forecast but still “more than we needed,” he said.
Finlay has to use an ATV to get around his fields. “I’ve never even see water here before, even in the spring.”
His farm equipment is sitting idle, and harvest is on hold.
“There is nobody in the immediate area that has combined anything,” he said. “This year has been pure hell.”
Keystone Agriculture Producers estimated farmers across the region are five per cent into a harvest that they should be wrapping up at this time of year.
That strain is adding to the massive financial impact of flooding earlier this year, which is currently around $1 billion.
The losses have put Finlay’s retirement plans in jeopardy.
“Who is going to be interested in buying a farm from western Manitoba or renting land, especially people from the immediate area, when they haven’t been able to do anything for a year or two?” he said.