The Souris River has finally crested in the Manitoba town of Souris, putting an end to weeks of preparation, speculation and stress.
Thanks to a rigorous effort, the town's dikes have just over a metre of room and have been holding steady against the deluge. According to officials, about four feet of freeboard remains on the dikes, and the crest came in about two feet lower than anticipated.
This is the third, and hopefully final, crest the flood-weary town has experienced since April.
An additional 175 Canadian Forces troops were deployed to Souris Monday in order to protect the town from severe flooding. About 200 soldiers were already in the town helping build up defences against the deluge including dikes and sandbags.
Almost 100 homes were evacuated as river levels rose.
Souris Mayor Darryl Jackson said he appealed for the military's assistance because the town is also threatened in the west by Plum Creek, which flows into the Souris and could spill over.
“(There) has been an unprecedented amount of water over an extended period of time like we've never seen before on the Assiniboine River Valley,” said an exasperated Greg Selinger, Premier of Manitoba.
One of the town's most famous landmarks also succumbed to the high water levels. On Sunday, officials decided to sacrifice the 177-metre-long Souris footbridge -- Canada's longest -- in order to protect a dike.
The Mayor said the anchors were holding the bridge cables underneath a dike and if the river rose up over the bridge, the cables would tear out the anchors. This would inevitably force the structural failure of the dike. Jackson says the town will build the beloved bridge again.
Selinger says he is proud of the way Manitobans have stood together through the spring and summer floods.
“There is a great buoyancy in the province and a great sense of people are in this together and pulling together to address the problem,” says Selinger. “We've mounted the flood fight this year like we've never seen before.”
Manitoba's flood bill already tops half a billion dollars, but the province is set to inject a few hundred million more to drop water levels on lakes Manitoba and St. Martin.
“We are looking at solutions that relieve the amount of water on Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin without having negative consequences for other people downstream of that,” explains Selinger.
Flooding on the Souris River also caused problems stateside. In North Dakota the flooding damaged more than 4,000 homes and forced roughly 11,000 people to flee the area.
With files from The Canadian Press and Lyndsay Morrison