'I'm quite in shock': Flood waters threatening Interlake properties

Manitoba's Interlake region is the latest to feel the effects of extreme weather, with many municipalities under local states of emergency as communities grapple with severe floodwaters.

In Arborg, the Icelandic River has spilled its banks. While it has gone down a couple centimetres since Sunday night, some properties on the outskirts of town are still flooding.

Just outside of Arborg and down a flooded road is Riverdale Place Home, a facility home to four people living with disabilities.

They have all been forced to leave after several feet of floodwater threatened the home.

“Even this morning it looked like it was encroaching and then all of a sudden it came. Apparently there was a road that breached,” said Kathy Finnson, executive director of the company that runs the home.

Fire crews and volunteers are working hard to sandbag and create dams to protect the home.

“We appreciate the community the way they’ve helped out,” said Leroy Loewen from the Arborg Fire Department. “For example, we ran a 10-hour shift doing 10,000 sandbags so we really appreciate the variety of community groups coming in to help.”

The Town of Arborg has declared a local state of emergency, and so far 15 homes have been evacuated. According to emergency officials, the community is used to flooding due to ice jams, but not high river levels like this.

“Most of the water is coming from overland, ends up in the river and goes down to the lake through Arborg and Riverton. So you’re only seeing part of it here because it’s still in the fields, it hasn’t come to the river yet,” explained Doug Anderson, a public information officer at the Northeast Interlake Emergency Measures Board.

The town said the river has gone down an inch or two since Sunday evening, giving some hope during a stressful time.

“It’s been many, many, many years – probably 30 or 40 – since it’s been this high,” said Ron Johnston, the town’s deputy mayor.

Arborg officials are hoping the crest has already happened, but aren't quite sure. As of right now, pretty much any community along the red river or other major tributary is under a flood warning.

The municipality said it is hoping for the best and preparing for the worst —something people dealing with the water are thankful for.

“I’m hoping we can get back in a few days and it’s certainly been a learning experience how fast something like this can happen. I’m quite in shock about it,” said Finnson.

According to Finnson, everyone has been relocated to one of the company’s three other group homes.