8 communities declare state of emergency due to flooding

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Flood damage to roads, culverts estimated in the millions in southwestern Manitoba

As the snow continues to melt and the water continues to rise, two more Manitoba municipalities and two towns declared local states of emergency due to overland flooding over the weekend.

The municipalities of Grassland and Grey declared a local state of emergency as did the towns of Swan River and Carman. 

Monday's classes at Carman Elementary, Carman Collegiate and Elmcreek School were cancelled as a result. 

The neighbouring Rural Municipality of Dufferin declared a state of emergency earlier in the week, along with La Broquerie and Two Borders. 

Dufferin Reeve George Gray says there are still a lot of routes that are impassable because of overland flooding, which has left crews cutting many of the roads. However, he said the community is stepping up to help each other out. 

"There's been an unbelievable cooperation. We called for sandbaggers, put it on social media and we had about 150 people show up to sandbag all day. The response was incredible," he said. 

The province's Emergency Measures Organization said as of Sunday evening, seven communities have registered states of emergency. Peguis First Nation also declared a state of emergency.

RM of Grey Reeve Raymond Franzmann said several roads were cut after they were washed out. The fire department and RM employees have been working to sandbag roads but the problem is all over the area, he said.

Jill Caldwell's house, located west of Pierson, Man., in the Rural Municipality of Two Borders, quickly and unfortunately became lakefront property as the situation deteriorated over the weekend.

"We often joke about selling lakefront property. It's gotten to be something that we've grown used to," she told CBC News on Sunday.

Her land flooded in 2011 and 2014 so she knows how to prepare.

"If we can't get out the back way then we will go to town and camp in town for a few days and hope for the best. The lane is washed out now so it will take a few weeks to get it back to operating," she said, pointing to the access road to her home.

Debbie McMechan, reeve of the municipality, said she is cautiously optimistic about the situation but it's not over yet.

"Things seem to be, all things considered, they seem to be holding together," she told CBC News on Sunday.

The flooding has improved in some areas of the municipality but there's still a lot of activity in others. There is a fair bit of destroyed or compromised infrastructure, McMechan said, explaining that water is rushing over roads leading to closures.

"There's been very little of having to cut anything, we've tried very hard not to take out any roads or any infrastructure if we didn't have to but there's been a few pretty hard decisions over the weekend," she said.

"I would say that this isn't over," she added.

The Red River in Winnipeg has dropped a touch since Saturday.

As of 1 p.m. Sunday, the river was sitting at 19.1 feet above normal winter ice levels.

The City of Winnipeg said Sunday it had 60,000 sandbags ready on standby if needed.

Sandbagging is complete on the 25 homes deemed at risk Saturday, the city said. 

Another 25 remain on standby and might still require sandbagging.

Provincial officials expect the Red River to crest on April 4 or 5.

Ice runs on the Assiniboine River could buoy water levels at James Avenue Sunday night or Monday morning.