Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger toured the communities of Morris and Emerson on Friday, as both communities prepare for an upcoming flood.
Selinger met with town officials in Morris, promising to improve access to Highway 75 during the upcoming flood season.
This year's flood forecast calls for river levels similar to 2009, when Morris had to close the town dike for 38 days and the highway closed to traffic.
The possibility that Highway 75 may close again this year worries residents in Morris, including seniors living at Parkside Villa.
"It's the main topic of conversation when they meet in the evening," said Cheryl Waldner, who works at the complex. "The more they talk, the more worried they get."
While there would be other access points into Morris if the highway closes, those would involve lengthy detours.
St. Andrews also getting ready
The flood emergency operations centre is now open in the Rural Municipality of St. Andrews.
Emergency coordinator Darcy Hardman said the ice in the municipality, located north of Winnipeg, hasn't started to break up yet — or even move — but residents are ready.
Those most at risk, in the low-lying areas, are well-familiar with what they have to do, he said.
"If they have been evacuated in the past, there is a likelihood that they will be evacuated in the future. So they realize they have a bag packed, they have their medication, and you know ,have some stuff for their dogs or animals and what they need to do," he said.
Hardman said those hit hardest in previous floods are on Breezy Point Road near Netley Creek. While he has spoken with those residents about being prepared to leave, he remains hopeful that would be a last resort.
"I have gone into the area looking at many methods of maybe looking at trying to keep them in by raising the roads and stuff," Hardman said.
"So we are looking at different avenues instead of maybe evacuating them as a first choice."