A rural municipality that has the Assiniboine River along its southern border is taking no chances with flooding this spring — it's preparing thousands of sandbags in case the river spills its banks.
St. François Xavier Reeve Dwayne Clark says levels on the Assiniboine River aren't a threat right now, but with the area under a flood warning, he's concerned that might change.
The rural municipality is preparing 8,000 to 10,000 sandbags just in case, he said.
"We're just storing them just in case there is a disaster and … we can get a jump on it, and rather than waiting two, three days for bags to arrive somewhere, it'll give us a day or two's work," Clark said.
The province's latest flood bulletin says overland flooding and tributary flows have started to subside across parts of southern Manitoba, but a flood watch remains in effect for a stretch of the lower Assiniboine River from Portage la Prairie to Headingley, including St. François Xavier.
Flows on the lower Assiniboine in the area could gradually increase to about 12,000 cubic feet per second over the weekend, which Clark said could affect "quite a bit" of agricultural land in the rural municipality.
The RM is about 30 kilometres west of Winnipeg and east of the Portage diversion, which Clark said is keeping the river levels under control for now.
While ice has moved out on most rivers in the province, it remains in place in some areas, including on the lower Assiniboine and in northern Manitoba.
"Ice jams are still possible and are difficult to predict," the flood bulletin says.
That's Clark's concern, too, so they're preparing for the worst.
"It all depends on what the levels will be, right?" he said.
Farther west along the Assiniboine, flood preparations are underway in the Rural Municipality of Cornwallis near Brandon, Man. The municipality is monitoring river levels and preparing sandbags in case they're needed, said Reeve Heather Dalgleish.
"If the river comes up maybe another three to four feet we're going to have to close some culverts on Veteran's Way to keep water from backing up and going over the field and potentially impacting some of our residents," she said.
In Brandon, the Assiniboine River on First Street was pegged at 1,174 feet about sea level on late Thursday afternoon, city officials say.
Provincial forecasters are estimating levels will peak sometime between Sunday and Wednesday at 1,177.5 to 1,178.5 feet above sea level, the city says.
Flood warning along Souris River
A flood warning has been issued for all points along the Souris River, the bulletin says, although the flows in its tributaries are beginning to decrease.
The province is also keeping an eye on water levels in the Carrot and Saskatchwan rivers, as ice jamming remains a concern on both.
High water levels have led to a number of road closures across Manitoba, and the province is warning drivers not to travel through moving water.
Homeowners are advised to review their home insurance to see if they're covered for overland flooding. Coverage for that type of flooding was introduced by some insurers in 2016, provincial officials said.
A flood warning is in place for:
- Birdtail Creek.
- Assiniboine River.
- Pelican Lake.
- Rock Lake.
- Oak Lake.
- Pembina River.
- Souris River.
- Dauphin Lake.
A flood watch is in place for:
- Red Deer River.
- Plum Creek.