Manitoba

Flooding forcing some southeastern Manitoba residents to flee under mandatory evacuation order

Some residents in southeastern Manitoba have been ordered to evacuate due to flooding and washed out roads.

RM of Stuartburn advising affected Arbakka residents to leave due to flood and compromised access routes

Michael Wiens and Jonathon Meda carry clothes in garbage bags out of the flooded Meda family farm Tuesday at Lonesand, in southeastern Manitoba. (Bartley Kives/CBC )

More residents in southeastern Manitoba were ordered to evacuate due to flooding and washed out roads late Tuesday evening.

The Rural Municipality of Stuartburn said in a Facebook post that Arbakka residents living between roads 41E and 54E, south of Provincial Road 201, must leave their homes and farms.

It was the latest evacuation in the region where several days of heavy rain have caused flooding and forced people to flee.

Earlier Tuesday, six homes in the cattle-ranching country were evacuated. Ten people were forced out of four homes in Lonesand, Man., about 100 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg, after 10 centimetres of rain led to the worst Rat River flooding since 2002.

"I went to bed and it was raining. We got up in the morning and everything's under water out there," said John Meda, who had to leave his cattle ranch, nestled between a bend in the Rat River and Highway 12, a trucking route connecting Minnesota to Manitoba.

WATCH | Residents scramble as floodwaters overwhelm homes:

The rural municipality of Stuartburn, near the U.S. border, declared a state of local emergency on Monday morning after torrential rain led to overland flooding of the Rat River and washed out roads on Sunday night. 0:51

Meda and his family raise 80 head of cattle, all of which are safe.

"I got them on the hill. We got the out of there, away from the river, because the calves would have drowned, the lot of them. The cows would have got away with it."

The river started receding by Tuesday afternoon, according to the Water Survey of Canada.

The Manitoba Hydrologic Forecast Centre is now watching the higher-volume Roseau River.

Two other properties were evacuated near the Roseau, said David Kiansky, Reeve of the Rural Municipality of Stuartburn, which straddles the U.S. border.

Stuartburn declared a state of local emergency on Monday morning after torrential rain led to overland flooding and washed out no fewer than 20 roads, Kiansky said.

The rapidly rising water overtook this cottage in the Rural Municipality of Stuartburn despite attempts at diking. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

Over the last three days, between 96 and 150 millimetres of rain fell on that part of southeast Manitoba, and another 20 millimetres of rain is in the forecast Tuesday.

Manitoba issued a flood watch on Monday for both the northwest and southeast regions of the province, including lakes in Whiteshell Provincial Park. 

At Lonesand, Kiansky said he's never seen anything like it before, even during the Red River flood of 1997, when much of southern Manitoba resembled a large lake. 

Dikes that have been in place for 40 years were overwhelmed by the fast-moving water, he said.

"It's a scary situation here, with a torrent of water that come in. That's the problem here right now," he said.

"It's unbelievable."

People who have lived all their lives along the Rat River haven't seen anything like it before, he said.

Meda said he's been through 20 floods since he moved to his ranch at Lonesand.

"They weren't like this. This is a master flood. Those were just baby floods," he said.

The flooding put some fields underwater Monday. (Tyson Koschik/CBC )

Kelly Stadnyk, who has lived in the RM of Stuartburn for 28 years, woke up Monday morning to see her entire yard was flooded. 

She said she's not as worried about her home because it's high off the ground, but she does worry about roads being flooded out.

She's also concerned for her friends and their homes. 

"I know that most of my co-workers that live in town, their sump pumps have not stopped going off. It's constant," she said. "So if the power goes out, they're in trouble, so that's scary."

WATCH | Residents asked to leave homes due to flood and compromised access routes:

Flooding forcing some southeastern Manitoba residents to flee under mandatory evacuation order. 2:25

About the Author

Sarah Petz

Reporter, CBC Manitoba

Sarah Petz is a reporter with CBC Manitoba. She was previously based at CBC New Brunswick. Her career has taken her across three provinces and includes a stint in East Africa. In 2017, she was part of a team of reporters and editors nominated for a National Newspaper Award for a feature on the Port of Saint John in New Brunswick. She can be reached at sarah.petz@cbc.ca.

With files from Meaghan Ketcheson and Peggy Lam

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