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Bracing for overland flooding in Manitoba

Volunteers fill sandbags ahead of this year's flood season
Volunteers fill sandbags ahead of this year's flood season

Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer

April 6, 2011 — The Red River continues to rise in southern Manitoba, and residents are preparing for the worst.

Sandbags line the streets in Brandon, Manitoba
Sandbags line the streets in Brandon, Manitoba

The good news is that there isn't any significant rainfall in the short-term forecast. However, rivers and streams are beginning to flow in Manitoba. As a result, flood watchers are keeping a close eye on water levels.

The province has issued a flood bulletin, which states that overland flooding has begun in some agricultural areas.

The Red River in the United States is already at or near flood stage in many areas. In Manitoba, the river isn't expected to crest until late April or early May.

Still, people living in southern Manitoba aren't taking any chances. Dozens of property owners in the Winnipeg areas have been told to start getting sandbags in place. Sandbags can already be seen lining the roads in and around Brandon, as well.

“Our target shows we would use 1.8 million sandbags and that's to prepare for those 1 in 10 worst case scenarios,” states Randy Hull, Winnipeg's Emergency Preparedness Coordinator.

Officials are calling for a spring flood slightly higher than 2009 levels but say they are keeping a close eye on the situation. The Manitoba government has recruited an important ally in the struggle to protect lives and property from an above-average flood: STARS air ambulance.

For a closer look at the weather you can expect in southern Manitoba this week, be sure to check your local forecast.

With files from Sana Ahmed

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