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Winds raise Manitoba flood risk near the Manitoba Lakes


Crews plugged the hole in the Assiniboine River dike Friday after water levels declined (Courtesy Government of Manitoba)
Crews plugged the hole in the Assiniboine River dike Friday after water levels declined (Courtesy Government of Manitoba)

Alexandra Pope, staff writer

May 21, 2011 — Homes near Manitoba lakes could be at risk of flooding as strong winds push water onshore this weekend.

A rainy long-weekend outlook for the southern Prairies
A rainy long-weekend outlook for the southern Prairies

People are trying to protect their homes from winds gusting 40 to 60 km/h that may lead to flooding near Lakes Manitoba, Winnipeg, Oak, Pelican and Rock.

The flood watch also continues for homeowners on the Assiniboine River. Authorities say a period of wet weather could put stress on the river, meaning a dike will have to be reopened.

But water levels in the Assiniboine have been declining, and the hole in the dike at Hoop and Holler Bend has been filled.

The dike was intentionally cut open last weekend to alleviate pressure on the dikes downstream and prevent a potentially catastrophic breach.

Water spilled across farmland -- but less than originally expected -- before officials felt confident the flood danger had lessened and gave the order to fill the breach on Friday.

Although the river appears to be in decline, people who were forced to leave their homes have not yet been allowed to return.

Southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan are in for a decent shot of rain this weekend. Rob Davis, a meteorologist at The Weather Network, says a low is set to dump up to 30 mm of rain on places like Estevan, SK and flood-threatened Brandon, MB by Sunday.

“This system might even get convective, meaning we could see some thunder and lightning,” he says.

This year has seen a long and tense flood fight in Manitoba so far. Early estimates put the cost of this flood season on par with the 1997 'Flood of the Century.'

With files from The Canadian Press and Lisa Varano

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