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Flood bulletin #22: April 29

Province of Manitoba media bulletin


Birdtail Creek

  • Overnight, a large excavator cut through a section of a former rail bed to release water trapped behind a 30-metre-high embankment near Birdtail Creek and PTH 45.
  • At this time, water levels are being monitored.  The effectiveness of the breach may be affected by the recent rainfall and resulting inflows to the site.
  • The water is making its way into the Birdtail Creek at a flow of 100 to 150 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Birdtail Creek won’t exceed its previous crest as a result of this cut.
  • The cut was made about 200 m west of the failing embankment.  Before the cut was made, heavy rock and membrane were put into place to reduce excessive erosion and contain flows.
  • The work was planned in consultation with the RM and Town of Rossburn, the RM and Town of Birtle, and the Waywayseecappo First Nation.
  • Efforts to establish pumping operations are also continuing at the site.  The controlled breach and pumping, combined with the slow flows from the culvert, are expected to reduce the risk of embankment failure and a surge of water flowing downstream.
  • However, risk of embankment failure remains high as only the top five feet of water will be removed from behind the embankment.
  • The situation is being monitored closely and will be updated as conditions change.
  • Under usual conditions, spring run-off would flow through the large box culvert at the base of the embankment.
  • The frozen box culvert at the base of the embankment has been holding back a significant amount of water.  Portions of the embankment have started to slide over the last four days, prompting concerns about flash flooding along Birdtail Creek.
  • As a result, communities downstream of the embankment have evacuated residents in low-lying areas and taken steps to protect homes and critical infrastructure.
  • Provincial officials are monitoring culvert conditions on provincial drainage systems and ?asking municipalities to do the same on municipal roads and draining systems, and to alert provincial officials when there are problems.

Peguis First Nation

  • Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) advises 136 people remain evacuated from the Peguis First Nation.  Twenty-eight homes have been affected by flood water and approximately 70 homes are isolated.
  • AANDC is working with the community and emergency management partners to ensure local emergency response efforts are supported.  Evacuations are being co-ordinated by the community with support from the Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters.
  • Water levels have crested in the community and are receding.  AANDC has not yet completed an impact assessment of damages.

Warnings and Advisories

Flood warnings are in place for:

  • all points along Birdtail Creek from PTH 45 downstream, due to the potential failure of a former railway embankment that will cause a large surge of water to travel quickly down the Birdtail Creek; and
  • the Assiniboine River from Shellmouth Dam to Brandon, due to high flows.

Flood watches are in place for:

  • Brereton Lake in Whiteshell Provincial Park;
  • all points along the Fisher River, due to high flows; and
  • all points along the Little Saskatchewan River, due to high flows.

Emergency Response

  • States of local emergency continue in the rural municipalities of Westbourne, Hillsburg, Birtle and Rossburn, and the towns of Roblin and Birtle.
  • The province has deployed flood-fighting and mitigation equipment strategically across the province.  Regional staff are supervising and monitoring water levels in affected areas.

Red River

  • Water levels and flows on the Red River and on most tributaries in Manitoba are declining.
  • The U.S. portion of the Red River is rising due to recent precipitation.
  • In the U.S., a flood warning was issued for the Red River at Fargo yesterday.  However, with normal precipitation, flows are expected to be well within the banks by the time it reaches Manitoba.

Roseau River

  • The Roseau River is slowly rising at most locations.  The river is free of ice and water levels are expected to stay well within bank.

Pembina River

  • The recent rainfall has caused water levels and flows throughout the watershed to rise.  All streams are expected to remain within bank.

Assiniboine River

  • The water level on the Shellmouth Reservoir has increased to 1,405.3 feet; the summer target level is 1,402.5 ft. and the spillway is at 1,408.5 ft.
  • Inflows to the reservoir are approximately 11,340 cfs and outflows are at 3,240 cfs.  Inflow to the reservoir has increased with the recent precipitation.
  • Provincial officials and the Shellmouth Operation Liaison Committee (with representation from municipalities and conservation districts on the reservoir and downstream of the Shellmouth Reservoir) have approved increasing outflows from the Shellmouth Reservoir to hit a target outflow of 5,000 cfs by tonight or tomorrow morning.
  • This operation is in keeping with the guidelines specific for each season.  In the spring, the guidelines call for outflows to be increased to keep reservoir levels below the spillway, if possible.
  • As of this morning, flow on the Portage Diversion is 6,260 cfs and flow on the Assiniboine River downstream of the diversion is 7,980 cfs.

Interlake Region

  • The Fisher River is under a flood watch as flows are dropping but remain high.  Flows this morning on the Fisher River dropped to 2,140 cfs at Dallas.

Parkland Region

  • In general, most streams in the region are stable or dropping with the exception of Overflowing River which is rising.  All streams are expected to remain within bank.
  • Dauphin Lake is at 856.1 ft. (above the desired level) and rising due to high inflows.  The ice remains solid at this time and conditions are being monitored.

Eastern Region

  • A high water advisory has been issued for Brereton Lake in Whiteshell Provincial Park. The lake is high and there is potential for flooding to develop on the lake itself and downstream.  Conditions are being monitored regularly.
  • Streams in the region are relatively stable and reported to be within bank.

The Pas and Northern Manitoba

  • The Saskatchewan, Carrot, and Red Deer rivers are continuing to rise.  Conditions are being monitored regularly.

Spring Safety

  • The risk of embankment failure remains high near Birdtail Creek and PTH 45.  The public are reminded to stay well away from this area, especially near the controlled breach.
  • People are encouraged to stay back and well away from flood-fighting work for their own safety and the safety of crews on the site.
  • This includes avoiding areas where heavy equipment is operating and moving out of the way to support flood-fighting efforts.

People are reminded:

  • to be watchful of local waterways as flood conditions can develop quickly and ice conditions may be unsafe,
  • to avoid crossing areas with broken ice and surface water,
  • not to drive or walk through fast-moving water, and
  • to call 511 to check road conditions before travelling.

Questions or concerns about flooding or water management should be directed first to the municipal authority.  Anyone with questions about water levels, provincial waterways or provincial water control infrastructure can call 204-945-8373 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., seven days a week.

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