Western Manitoba communities begin clean-up with more flooding possible
Published Wednesday, July 2, 2014 6:06PM CST
At 85 years old, retired farmer Lorne Sipley is trying to make sense of what he's seeing.
"This is the worst flood I ever seen," he said. "It's been bad before but nothing like this," said Sipley from near his home west of Virden, MB.
What's surprising him the most is all the water in the fields and swollen creeks. Many of the roads in the area are closed or have load limitation put in place by the province.
Sipley says he's never seen that many roads closures either.
Brian Johnston lives and works around Virden, too.
"Right now, it's pretty difficult," he said. "If you know your way around in some of the back roads, you can get by water ways that are running ok, but you certainly have to pay attention to where you're going."
Johnston is most worried about people who may lose road access to and from their homes.
A helicopter from Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship is on standby in Brandon, should anyone need to be rescued. It's been there since Tuesday afternoon, but so far no one has needed it's services.
Daryl Andrew had some anxious moments as well, but is feeling better since he moved his family of five to higher ground on Tuesday. They moved from Elkhorn to near Hargrave, southwest of Virden.
"It was very concerning," he said. "We knew we had the option of coming out here if things got real bad in town, and we had to evacuate. We were fortunate to get to a place out here."
He noticed water levels dropping in the past 24 hours, and so do crews in Elkhorn, who are dealing with swamped roadways inundated with water.
But officials are not letting their guard down just yet. Emergency Measures Operations Minister Steve Ashton says, "What we’re dealing with here is a significant surge of water coming from very significant this past weekend.”
More water is expected to flow in from Saskatchewan in the coming days, and more rain may also be on the way.
In Virden, Manitoba, Betty Lou Cameron has had to clean up the mess water left in her basement. She says she's very disheartened by all the water.
Dave Jordan and his neighbours took matters in their own hands.
They built a 6 foot dike just before the mandatory evacuation order Tuesday night.
"People in neighbourhood showed up prepared to put sandbags, but we needed a lot of sandbags, and they're only good for a couple of feet and info we had said we needed more," said Jordan.
The main reason for the evacuations are due to heavy rainfall that left nearly 80 sections of provincial roads damaged -- limiting access to many properties.