Monday, April 18, 2011

Prairie flood picture worsens: Canada

Manitoba officials were working quickly Monday to build higher dikes along the Assiniboine River, while their counterparts in Saskatchewan warned that flooding will remain a threat for the rest of the month.

For the past week, much of the Prairie provinces has been flooded or in danger of being so, with parts of the region seeing the highest water levels in 150 years.

About 700 people in Manitoba have already been forced from their homes, dozens of roads have been closed, and officials are urging more vigilance.

"Many of the crests are some time off," Emergency Measures Minister Steve Ashton said on Sunday. "We're not even necessarily at the end of the beginning of the spring flood stage."

Dikes along the Assiniboine upstream of Winnipeg were built to withstand water levels seen in 1976, the worst year on record. But the river was ice-free that year, and officials worry that ice jams this year will make water levels worse than they would otherwise be. (read more)