6 Manitoba rural municipalities declare state of emergency, brace for more flooding
Rainfall warnings issued for southeast corner of province, including Winnipeg
Several rural municipalities in southern Manitoba that are experiencing overland flooding are declaring local states of emergency as they brace for more precipitation this weekend.
There are now six Manitoba rural municipalities under a local state of emergency, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Doyle Piwniuk said during question period at the legislature Thursday: Headingley, Cartier, Ritchot, Morris, Montcalm and Fisher.
The emergency declarations come as Environment Canada has issued rainfall warnings for the southeast corner of the province due to another Colorado low passing through Manitoba.
The weather agency predicts 20-50 millimetres will fall during a 24-36-hour period starting on Friday night.
That comes after the Red River Valley received approximately 70 millimetres of rain from a Colorado low last weekend.
Officials in the RM of Montcalm, which is south of Winnipeg and covers the area around the communities of St. Jean Baptiste and Letellier, announced a month-long local state of emergency on Thursday morning.
The municipality's official website lists 21 flood-related road closures, and says approximately 16 homes on St. Mary's Road are at risk of needing to be evacuated.
The homeowners have been notified and the municipality is arranging accommodations in case they need to evacuate, the online update says.
In the neighbouring RM of Morris, the Morris River is just about touching the Highway 75 bridge at the town's northern edge.
Crews are piling up mud to support the town's ring dike there, and officials have said that they are prepared to close Highway 75 if needed.
The reeve of the RM of Morris, Ralph Groening, says there haven't been homes flooded yet, but he's concerned right now about roads being flooded.
"Like the rest of the province, we're hoping that the moisture will be minimal and that we can move on to the next season," Groening said.
The rural municipality of Ritchot, which covers the area around communities such as Ste. Agathe, St. Adolphe, Ile des Chêne and Grande Pointe, is also making preparations for this weekend.
RM Mayor Chris Ewen says 6,500 sandbags have been distributed, and some voluntary evacuation notices have been issued.
The municipality's chief administrative officer, Mitch Duval, says 14 of the evacuation notices have been issued so far, and he expects 40 more before the weekend for homeowners in high-risk areas.
Ewen echoed Groening's concerns that roads will be flooded and residents may be stranded.
Declaring a state of emergency and flood preparations are par for the course when living in the Red River Valley, Ewen said.
"It happens almost annually in our region. We're at a pretty standard high level season for Ritchot, so we haven't seen anything super uncommon."
Mary Elizabeth McKenzie has lived in the area for 30 years. Her home was badly damaged in the flood of 1997, but since then has been flood-proofed.
She said she's not too worried about water getting into her home, but is worried about road access being cut off.
"The end of the road down here tends to go out fairly early, which means you have to get out your chest waders, or we can usually drive through with a truck depending on how it is," she said.
"But the current is very strong. I've seen people washed out in their ATVs down there, trying to get through the water."
She said she might take her horses to another stable, just to be safe.
For now, she said she hasn't been issued an evacuation notice, and doesn't expect she'll get one.
"Unless there's a major, major storm, I can't see it."
With files from Alana Cole