The Winnipeg River is expected to crest in early June, according to the Manitoba government.
In the province’s flood bulletin released on Saturday, it said the river is still experiencing high flows and water levels due to “significant volumes of water upstream in Ontario from Lake of the Woods and Lac Seul.”
The Winnipeg River’s water levels are expected to remain above normal for several weeks after it crests next month.
The Manitoba government noted that a flood warning is still in effect for this river, as well as the Whiteshell Lakes area. Property owners in these areas should continue to take the necessary precautions.
The province advises against travelling into the Whiteshell Provincial Park area, as many highways are flooded and travel is “treacherous.”
Manitoba Parks has ordered the evacuation of Whiteshell Provincial Park’s Betula Lake area. This includes cottage subdivisions; commercial, group-use, day-use, recreational and picnic areas; playgrounds; trails; and beaches. A full list of restricted lakes and boat launch, campground and travel closures can be found online.
As of Saturday, 42 states of local emergency have been declared in Manitoba. The Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization is working with local authorities and emergency management partners to help communities respond and recover.
Manitoba Hydro is also asking people to be careful on and around rivers and lakes, especially near generating stations.
A complete list of flood warnings, watches and high water advisories in Manitoba can be found online.
DAMAGE IN THE WHITESHELL
As some parts of Whiteshell Provincial Park are evacuated, others are now seeing the water level off.
At West Hawk Lake, docks litter the main boat launch as residents and cottagers can now survey the damage.
Jaime Lynn Sopka was spending the weekend in the area at her parents’ cabin.
Two weeks ago, she received a call from the contractor who built her dock, saying she needed to put sandbags on it to protect it.
She initially put 30 on the dock, but had to put 100 more after the water started to damage it.
"It had kind of caved, so when I called him, he said you need a hundred more. So I added a hundred with some great friends last weekend," she said.
Sopka said the situation has been tense, but she is thankful she isn't dealing with more damage.
"It's been stressful for everyone, I think, but there are people way worse off than we are," she said. "People have lost whole boathouses, docks, and in some parts of the Whiteshell, their cabins."
The damage even extends beyond personal properties in the area.
Local business owner Shaun Harbottle noticed the sea wall across from his store was starting to fall.
"It's unfortunate," said Harbottle, the owner of Crescent Beach Cottages & Motel. "The wave action actually dug out of the sea wall, and then the wall started to list, so I think there is an eight-inch gap there now, so it is falling."
The sea wall is now barricaded with tape so people can't go near it. Below it, where a beach used to be, it's all water.
Harbottle said he's never seen the lake as high as it right now, noting he's lived in the area his entire life.
"We've seen everything from fridges to whole docks to ladders. So it is dangerous, but cottage owners need to be here,” he said. “They need to secure their boats and get their stuff figured out."