Minnedosa crews scrambling to hold back flood waters with more rain on the way

Heavy equipment operators and volunteers in Minnedosa are racing to get thousands of sandbags in place and build dikes to protect properties from the rising Little Saskatchewan River. 

The town, about 215 kilometres west of Winnipeg, declared a local state of emergency Tuesday over flooding in the area. 

Now, the town is bracing for things to get worse. The province plans to remove logs from the Minnedosa dam Wednesday to release pressure on it, which could raise water levels in town by another seven centimetres, says Jim Doppler, the town’s chief administrative officer. 

Doppler says the town is scrambling to prepare for that, but rain and thunderstorms in the area aren’t helping.

Super sand bags 

“We don’t have our super sand bags up yet, and we’re trying to contain the water as it is, so any more precipitation is not going to help us,” Doppler said, adding crews have been out since 8 a.m. 

Earlier this week, the province said it was tracking a weather system that could bring between 20 and 50 millimetres of rain to southern Manitoba over the next five days.

Doppler says the town is planning to meet with provincial officials Wednesday morning to get more information about their plan and whether they could hold off on removing the logs. 

An aerial view of the flooding in Minnedosa on Tuesday. (Submitted by Ian Straker)

Doppler says people living in 30 properties have been warned they could be at risk, and that a number of people have already been forced out.

“There’s certainly a number of homes that have water around them, and they’re fighting hard to save their property,” he said. 

On Tuesday, Minnedosa received 2,000 super sandbags, 40,000 small sandbags and pumps from the province. The town was also looking for volunteers to make and move 30,000 sandbags to protect low-lying areas. 

The hope is that once the super sandbags, once in place, should be able to contain any rise in water levels, Doppler says. 

Currently, 39 municipalities in Manitoba have declared states of local emergency, not including First Nations, the province said in an update on Tuesday.

These communities have now declared states of emergency, according to the province, in addition to the 30 that had previously done so:

  • Barrows.
  • Camperville.
  • Duck Bay.
  • RM of Glenella-Lansdowne.
  • RM of Lakeshore.
  • Town of Minnedosa.
  • Municipality of Minitonas-Bowsman     
  • Municipality of Mossey River.
  • RM of Mountain.

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