‘Now is not the best time’ to visit Kenora, Lake of the Woods, officials warn Manitobans

Manitobans planning to head to Kenora or Lake of the Woods this long weekend should reconsider their plans after officials warned people not to come because of flooding.

“We’re definitely concerned about, you know, heading into the long weekend here in a few more days, that we’re going to see that surge that we do normally see,” said Kent Readman, Kenora’s emergency management co-ordinator.

“As much as we want to see everyone back in Kenora, now is just not the best time.”

A flood notice has been issued for parts of Kenora, Ont., and several areas have been evacuated because of high water. Kenora is a popular summer vacation destination for people from Winnipeg, which is 200 kilometres west of the small city.

Kenora municipal officials issued an evacuation order late last week to residents living in the Black Sturgeon Lakes area in the northeastern part of the city.

Environment Canada’s forecast calls for more rain Thursday and into Friday.

The high water could last more than a week, Readman said. Some areas are just not safe, and if roads wash out people could be stranded.

“We understand people want to check on their cottages and their property, but we want to keep as many people as we can out of those evacuated areas and ensure everyone’s safe and, you know, can enjoy their cottage later on when things dry up a little,” Readman said.

About 440 properties have had to be evacuated so far, with the total number of people having to leave their homes estimated to be a few hundred.

Northwestern Ontario is one of several regions across Canada to be hit hard by spring flooding. Emergency alerts and evacuation notices have been issued in the Northwest Territories, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. 

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