NEWS
07/10/2014 08:11 EDT | Updated 09/09/2014 05:59 EDT

Manitoba flood: 1st crest nears Winnipeg as 2nd moves into province

The flood crest is moving along the Assiniboine River closer to Winnipeg and all of the protective dikes are holding, the latest developments in the flooding that has put Manitoba on high alert.

The crest passed through Portage la Prairie on Wednesday night and then peaked at the Baie St. Paul bridge, just northwest of St. Francois Xavier.

The high water is expected to reach that community, which is about 25 kilometres west of Winnipeg, on Thursday morning.

The river is moving at a total of more than 51,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) — 34,000 cfs through the Portage Diversion and 18,000 cfs down the river towards Winnipeg.

That 51,000 cfs is like 35 Olympic-sized swimming pools going by each minute. On average, the flow rate of the river is just 1,600 cfs.

The provincial government and members of the Canadian military are working with municipalities along the Assiniboine and are on standby in case anything, like a breach, happens.

Kam Blight, reeve of the rural Municipality of Portage la Prairie, said there have been no issues with leaks as the dikes stay strong.

​Blight said the concern in his municipality now is if any strong winds come along, whipping the water and putting more strain on the dikes.

The biggest worry is in the Delta Beach area, which is vulnerable to winds and waves from Lake Manitoba. Levels on the lake are rising due to the water from the Portage Diversion being emptied into it. 

Meanwhile, a second crest is moving into the province as run-off from tributaries along the Assiniboine in both Saskatchewan and Manitoba flow into the river. That crest is expected to reach St. Lazare, ​located near the Saskatchewan border at the forks of the Assiniboine and Qu’Appelle rivers, on Thursday or Friday.

It should reach Brandon on the weekend.

Provincial officials said the water levels will be lower than the first crest but the high level will last longer.

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