Flood evacuations in Minot, N.D., Manitobans along Souris River brace for record high water levels
Published Thursday, June 23, 2011 11:02AM CST
Officials ordered immediate evacuations Wednesday in Minot, North Dakota as the area deals with the worst flooding it's seen in more than four decades.
Meanwhile in Manitoba, the province says several communities will be bracing for rising waters with record-high flood protection levels.
In North Dakota, more than 11,000 people within the Minot flood zones --about a quarter of the city's residents—were forced to leave Wednesday afternoon. Water from the Souris River breached Minot's levees Wednesday afternoon.
The Souris River, which is also called the Mouse River south of the border, is expected to reach unprecedented record levels by the end of the week, cresting by June 26.
Officials say there's nothing more they can do to hold back the water.
"What I see right now is probably the most devastating in terms of the number of people directly impacted and what will likely be the damage," said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk of the North Dakota National Guard.
The community was pitching in Wednesday to help those in the flood zones get out with their belongings. But packing wasn't the only challenge. Navigating through traffic has been difficult for many during the mass exodus of people leaving the city.
More than 500 National Guard soldiers and airmen are staying back to monitor the levees and report any breaches.
The city is also building additional levees to protect the water treatment plant and other essential city infrastructure.
High waters south of the border will affect river levels in Manitoba, further stressing an area already exhausted from an extended flood fight this spring.
"If there's any doubt this is historic and unprecedented … this is day 79 of the flood season in Manitoba. With the latest news there's no doubt it's historic, unprecedented and it's nowhere near over yet," said Steve Ashton, the province's minister responsible for emergency measures.
Ashton said communities such as Melita, Souris and Wawanesa will have to raise their dikes by as much almost eight feet (2.4 metres).
Officials expect river levels in Wawanesa to go eight feet (2.4 m) higher than levels reached earlier this spring.
Souris could see river levels rise by six feet (1.8 m), and in Melita by two feet (0.6 m).
Dikes that protected Melita from flooding in April haven't been torn down. Officials say those dikes should continue to keep the town dry.
Heavy rains in parts of Saskatchewan are also putting pressure on the already swollen Souris River basin.
- with a report from CTV's Josh Crabb
- with files from The Canadian Press