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Manitoba property damaged by storm

Severe flooding in and around Lake Manitoba.
Severe flooding in and around Lake Manitoba.

Jill Colton, staff writer

June 3, 2011 — Hundreds of properties on Lake Manitoba have been damaged by storm-driven waves.

Flooding as a result of the swollen Assiniboine River.
Flooding as a result of the swollen Assiniboine River.

It's been a heartbreaking few days for those with properties on Lake Manitoba.

Early estimates show hundreds of seasonal or permanent properties were damaged or destroyed after they were rocked by massive storm waves earlier this week.

Officials believe around 400 lakeside properties in the Rural Municipality of St. Laurent and another 150 in the RM of Portage la Prairie were victims of a torrential wave of foul weather.

Some cottages were completely lashed by water, washing them off their foundations while roads were inundated.

According to reports, more than 300 people had to flee the St. Laurent region when the storm left their properties in shambles.

The area on the lake's south shore will remain closed for at least another week.

Property owners can expect to be contacted on a staged basis when the area is deemed safe enough to return.

Emergency Measures Minister Steve Ashton says the province's flood compensation program will be flexible in recognizing the severe damage to some cottages.

Officials say lake levels have been higher than usual. This is likely due to water from the Assiniboine River that's been channelled north after the Portage diversion.

It's been a difficult spring for southern Manitoba residents. The swollen Assiniboine River was purposely flooded to prevent some 500 square kilometres from being submerged.

The mighty river's crest peaked almost 1.5 feet higher than expected due to substantial spring rainfall. The Assiniboine also surpassed the previous record set in 1923.

Flood fighters were forced to build dikes two feet higher than necessary to accommodate unusual flows.

By the middle of May, the cost of the spring flooding was estimated to be around $200 million dollars. Experts believe this year's bill could top that of 1997's “flood of the century,” which led to about $500 million in repairs and economic loss.

With files from The Winnipeg Free Press

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