Multiple bridges seriously damaged in flash floods, more rain on the way for Manitoba

Manitoba is bracing for more rain as it works to repair multiple bridges that were seriously damaged in flash floods over the weekend.

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Doyle Piwniuk said he toured Manitoba's northern Parkland area yesterday to view the damage that occurred following a weekend of flooding.

"These were flash floods that happened over the weekend," he said. "One of our ADMs was there and said the water was coming from all directions – it was like a tsunami. So this is what we were facing in that area."

He said around four or five bridges had serious repair damages after the flash floods. While some have opened, Piwniuk said crews are working to repair the other bridges and get traffic flowing again.

Johanu Botha, head of Manitoba’s Emergency Management Organization, said the flood fight is ongoing in communities hard hit by the flooding. He said the province has responded to requests for thousands of pieces of flood-fighting equipment in nearly 40 communities that have declared local states of emergency.

As of the update on Wednesday, Botha said about 2,500 Manitobans have been displaced by the flooding and are being accommodated in different communities in southern Manitoba.

"They will remain there until water recedes and homes are deemed safe," he said.

"We are working hard to protect homes, critical infrastructure, and to keep people safe through sandbags, and sand and Tiger Tube pumps, and of course, all the provincial staff who are deployed across southern Manitoba and who will remain there as long as needed."

However, more rain is on the way.

"Currently we are monitoring another significant precipitation system that is going to impact most of western and central Manitoba basins between today and Friday," said Fisaha Unduche, executive director of hydrologic forecasting and water management in Manitoba.

He said areas including Roblin, Dauphin, Portage, and Brandon are looking at 40 to 90 mm of precipitation. He said the Assiniboine River and the Shellmouth Basin could also be impacted by this, which prompted the province to issue an overland flood warning for the area on Tuesday.

Botha said heavy rain can lead to flash floods and extreme overland flooding.

"People in affected areas should take action to protect their families and their homes and should be prepared to evacuate if needed," he said, telling Manitobans to follow directions from their local authorities.