Washouts close roads after soaking rain, prompting another state of emergency in southwest Manitoba

By | June 30, 2020

The rural municipality of Clanwilliam-Erickson in Manitoba has declared a state of emergency due to least two storms that hit the southwest region Sunday.

Victor Baraniuk, reeve of the rural municipality near Riding Mountain National Park, said overland flooding completely washed out roads in the area, prompting him to call a state of emergency by 9:30 p.m. Monday. 

The rural municipality isn’t forcing residents to leave their homes at this point but strongly advise those in the Otter Lake area to move to drier ground, he said.

He’s worried some people could get trapped.

“The road was washing right out, and you know, there’s one way in and one way out,” he said. 

“So till the water recedes, we certainly would not be able to get people back and forth in there safely.”

The water came in very fast, damaging roads all over the municipality, Baraniuk said.

The rural municipality of Oakview, northwest of Brandon, declared a state of emergency early Monday morning. 

Streets in Brandon were so overloaded with water after the storms that cars couldn’t get through, and even the basement of the Brandon Regional Health Centre flooded, causing cancellations of surgeries and endoscopy procedures.

Brandon and parts of southwest Manitoba were drenched with heavy rain and severe thunderstorms Sunday, prompting two communities to declare states of emergency the following day. (Riley Laychuk/CBC)

Manitoba government officials said they may have to operate the Portage Diversion floodway later this week to limit water flow in the lower Assiniboine River.

The province issued a flood warning for the western, central and southern regions of the province on Monday, as another 80 to 150 millimetres of rain were expected to hit those areas within 48 hours.

As of Monday afternoon, the Assiniboine River watershed, which includes the areas near Brandon and Minnedosa, had recorded close to 155 millimetres of precipitation in 24 hours, the province said in a news release. 

The storm caused significant damage in Rapid City, northwest of Brandon. (Walther Bernal/CBC )

Despite the forecast, the storms expected to hit Monday night didn’t pack much of a punch, Environment Canada reported. 

Meteorologist Brad Vrolijk said an area west of Bismark, N.D., stole the thunder.

There is potential for more severe weather Tuesday night, he said.

Thunderstorms with heavy rain, strong wind and hail are forecast to move into southwest Manitoba late in the evening, before moving toward the Red River Valley overnight.

Highways still closed

Some highways have reopened while others have closed due to overland flooding. 

Eastbound and westbound lanes of the Trans-Canada Highway between Highway 10 and Highway 110, in Brandon, are now reopened.

Travellers in the area should check the Manitoba road report before heading out, as there are multiple closed highways in the area.

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