Red River Flood Watch – Thursday April 16 Winnipeg Declares State of Emergency

Latest Update Monday April 20, 2009 – Canada News – aerial photo of flooding Red River looks more like the Red Sea…

Thursday April 16, 2009 – The City of Winnipeg officially declared a state of emergency just after 11:00am this morning due to the rising flood waters of the Red River. The crest is expected to flow through the city between today and tomorrow. Residents of low lying areas affected by the flood are being told to cooperate with emergency personnel … more [including video of flooding in St. Agathe]

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Winnipeg Red River Flood Watch – Wednesday April 15 – Update and photos

Red River Flood Watch – Update, April 15 – Latest photos …more

Winnipeg Red River Flood Watch – Wednesday April 15 – Update and photos

The latest news from EmergWeb is that the threat of flooding is not over, with the city responding to changing river conditions and shifting flood fighting efforts to the north and central areas of Winnipeg. New calls for volunteers (at least 500 needed) continue to be posted. In the local Winnipeg calling area – call 311 – to register to volunteer or visit the EmergWeb volunteer page
The need for volunteers today is urgent.

From the Province of Manitoba EMO
A continued rapid melt is contributing to higher levels on Red River tributaries and resulting in further forecasted increases for some areas of the river. The 2009 flood will now surpass 1979 and 1950 levels in areas from St. Jean Baptiste to the floodway inlet. This makes 2009 the second-greatest flood since the floods of the 1800s. Levels for the 1997 flood were still about 0.6 metres (two feet) higher than crests expected this year. Many areas of Manitoba are also experiencing overland flash flooding caused by frozen, saturated soil and crests in many locations are lasting longer than usual. This combination of events has resulted in a serious flood situation that could last for several weeks.

Evacuations – A partial evacuation is underway from Peguis First Nation through the Manitoba Association of Native Fire Fighters (MANFF). MANFF has started an evacuation of 119 residents to Winnipeg this afternoon. An evacuation of the personal-care home in St. Adolphe will begin this evening as a precautionary measure. Approximately 40 residents will be moved to Winnipeg. The St. Adolphe Personal Care Home, the South Eastman Manitoba Regional Health Authority and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority are co-ordinating the placement of residents according to the level of care required and the location of family. Family members of residents are being contacted.

Disaster Assistance – An office is being set up in Selkirk to help residents who have been affected by the flooding. Visit the EMO website for more information

Webcam – Live view of Winnipeg Red River Floodway gates

Photos –

Visit Winnipeg Free Press on Flickr

Visit Winnipeg Free Press on Flickr

[thumbnail source – Winnipeg Free Press on Flickr]

I’ll keep adding updates as they come in from all the feeds as well as mirror on the MissionLog, and post volunteer updates at project417.com. If you have links to photos or videos post them in the comments here. Thanks.

Winnipeg Red River Flood Watch – Saturday, April 11

Flood Update – Monday April 13 – click here for Canada News Blog

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News Alerts – Sunday, April 12, 2009

Flooding, evacuations and rooftop rescues of stranded residents in St. Andrews and St. Clements Saturday night – Major flooding caused by ice jams – many homes damaged by ice as well as flood water (more)

Red River Flood Watch – April 11, 2009 – Updates: Winnipeg, Manitoba area and Fargo, North Dakota

Alerts – Saturday, April 11

EmergWeb Updates – City of Winnipeg – Local calling area, call 311

At-risk property owners still required to leave dikes in place.
Ice jams moving slowly northward, somewhat reducing threat
Flyover of river system shows positive change in water and ice conditions this morning
Volunteer efforts not required at this time

More Updates –

Winnipeg flood response eased but ice jams still greatest threat:
The Floodway continues to flow smoothly and a major ice jam dislodged Friday -resulting in a few hundred volunteers being sent home as flood threat eased. The area is not entirely past all risk of flooding due to the presence of ice in the floodway, which is not meant to be opened in the presence of major ice flows. At least one large ice pan is still in the floodway – this has the risk of causing another ice jam and flooding.

:: photo Angela Ward / Winnipeg Free Press

Areas at the greatest risk of flooding, are north of Winnipeg , concentrated for now in Selkirk, although there has been some flooding to the south as well. At the Manitoba U.S border area Highway 75 has been closed for a few days and should remain so for another week or so. It is also difficult to say what the impact will be of the water diverted through the Floodway on ice jams to the north. Because ice is flowing through the Floodway, when it exits the northern outlet, all the ice will then meet existing ice jams near Selkirk and other communities if they have not dislodged by then.

The outlook is that flooding will still come – the slow moving Red River crest is in the Emerson to Letellier area and is expected at Morris on Monday. It should reach the south end of Winnipeg on Thursday. Warmer temperatures expected Sunday and Monday will also speed the spring thaw and increase local surface runoff into the river basin.

North Dakota , the Fargo area, is seeing a second major crest in the Red River . Though not as severe as the end of March when many were evacuated, threats to dikes are severe and flooding is taking place in several areas. Manitoba residents will also have to be on the lookout for this second wave of elevated river levels as it moves north into the region again.

There are no plans to send out our Toronto team of volunteers yet as the situation is being handled well by local volunteers. I’ll continue posting the updates both at the Canada News blog as well as her on the MissionLog from WordPress.com and will post volunteer opportunities for Toronto area folks wishing to get involved at the Project417 website – project417.com

Red River Flood Watch – Update, April 7 – Winnipeg, Manitoba and area, Fargo, North Dakota

Red River Flood Watch – April 7: Winnipeg, Manitoba Update – Fargo, ND

Red River Flood Watch – Update, April 7 – Winnipeg, Manitoba and area, Fargo, North Dakota

You’ll notice at the Canada News Commentary blog that I’ve been following closely the Red River flood situation in both Manitoba and North Dakota. This news watch on the flooding has also been twinned here at the MissionLog blog at WordPress.com

My goal is to gather the latest news from the most reliable news sources on the scene in the areas and present an accurate synopsis both to residents of the affected areas and concerned people across the country  worried about families or wondering how best to help – with an emphasis on volunteerism. The latest flood updates and links to news articles are just below. [sources- cbc.ca; WinnipegFreePress.com; Government of Manitoba; City of Winnipeg winnipeg.ca]

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I work with Project417, a small grassroots non-profit in Toronto. Normally, we work out on the streets with the inner city homeless population. For the past several years, Project417 has also been directly involved in Disaster Recovery work, specifically organizing volunteers to go and help those rendered homeless by disasters. Homelessness can befall anyone by environmental disaster as well as other circumstances, and we have experience in helping our neighbors across North America – as they are usually no more than a couple of days drive.

Relief efforts Project417 has  responded to include:  Hurricane Ivan, Grenada, fundraising for YWAM – Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, first response mobile canteens, emergency distribution center, crisis counselling, Lower 9th ward home rebuilding – Hurricane Ike, Houston Galveston County, first response mobile canteens, emergency distribution center, San Leon home rebuilding – City of Toronto, 2008 propane explosion, 2008 Secord Avenue Hydro vault explosion, 2009 East and West end apartment explosions, food and refreshment services at community evacuation centres – City of Vaughan and Region of Durham, emergency exercises – Thunder Bay, Ontario, Trillium provincial emergency exercise. For many of these we partner with the central region Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services, while for Hurricane Katrina and Ike, Project417 has directly organized the home rebuilding efforts with hundreds of volunteers.

Emerson area road flooded - cbc.ca photo

Emerson area road flooded - cbc.ca photo

Ice Jams UnpredictableManitoba

In the Winnipeg area and elsewhere in Manitoba, the greatest risk reported right now from the rising levels on the Red River are from the widespread ice jams along many stretches of the river, combined with still extensive ice pans still covering much of the river. Winnipeg officials are confident that the recent relatively good weather conditions are reducing the risk of serious flooding. The good weather also assisted in making the job of hundreds of area volunteers who turned out over the weekend in increasing the sandbagging levels within Winnipeg city limits and in communities north such as St. Andrews and Selkirk, as well as south in Emerson. ( Ice jam raises river in Selkirk, threatens homes, April 7)

In addition, the province is making use of its Amphibex ice breakers on the ice pans and ice jams in several trouble spots on the river. The city’s Floodway, built to divert rising waters around the city during floods, can not normally be opened until ice jams and pans have melted or cleared, as letting in the ice could cause structural damage withing the Floodway. Officials are reported to have decided to open the floodway this week however and are taking steps to clear the jams.

The unpredictability of the ice jams makes it difficult to asses the impact of the cresting waters. Currently waters are expected to crest at just over 6 metres withing flood wall and dike protection, with sandbagging raising levels to about seven and a half metres for safety.

Similarly, on the border of Manitoba, Emerson is going to be the first facing this week the rising waters heading up from North Dakota. The CPR rail line is already closed by flooding in the area, but Emerson officials are similarly confident the town is prepared to meet the flood and don’t expect levels to reach catastrophic levels seen in the past. However they expect Highway 75 to be flooded, the main highway between Manitoba and the U.S. with expected lengthy delays for truckers and travellers.

Winnipeg area residents wishing to volunteer can call from the local calling area Winnipeg’s 311 information service, or email 311@winnipeg.ca with their name, telephone number and times of availability. You can also visit the area’s EmergWeb site at http://winnipeg.ca/emergweb

The Salvation Army and Red Cross in Manitoba has been out providing relief to volunteers and residents. Project417 volunteers remain on call.

Fargo, North Dakota may face second wave of floodwaters.

The U.S. Weather Service has issued new warnings to North Dakota residents that Fargo could face a second surge of floodwaters later this month and officials are watching reports closely. Just last week, Fargo and area residents escaped the worst as the Red River flood crest was lower than expected and the majority of dikes and sandbagging efforst held. More than 1,000 National Guard are still in the area to help if conditions should worsen again – as well as the combined forces of Salvation Army Emergency and Disaster Services and the Red Cross.

I’ll post more updates here as soon as I can and at Canayjun’s Canada News blog. If there are any volunteer efforts being organized from Toronto, I’ll also post them here and at the Project417 website. Post a comment here if you have any volunteer information or breaking news.

Flood Watch: Red River -Update April 2-09 – Winnipeg Calls for more sandbag volunteers

Red River Flood Watch 2009 – Update: Thursday, April 2

sandbagsWinnipeg calls for more sandbag volunteers Hundreds of Manitoba homes at risk from Red River ice jams

Winnipeg needs help – more volunteers needed for sandbagging in neighborhoods at increased risk of flooding

Officials in Winnipeg, Manitoba are escalating flood preparedness activities due to spreading ice jams in several key locations in the city including near the University of Manitoba in Fort Richmond and in communities just to the north – West St. Paul and St. Andrews.

The 48 km long floodway channel that diverts water around the city can’t be opened until large ice pans and floes clear. If the ice were to enter the channel, it would increase the risk of ice jams at several bridges within the city limits.
The Red River has already crested to the south of Manitoba in North Dakota, with evacuations near Fargo being ended. However, the cold weather in Manitoba has resulted in exceedingly dense ice conditions with many jams accumulating at major bends and low bridges along the extensive Red River valley system. Although the river is not expected to crest in the Winnipeg area until after April 6th early next week – the existence of the ice jams makes it difficult to predict the outcome of a sudden thaw. Even if the river crests below high water marks, floodwalls and dikes, a sudden thaw runoff meeting ice jams could cause serious localized flooding.

Lockport Bridge Ice jam

Lockport Bridge Ice jam

The local Salvation Army is on site at several sandbagging operations with refreshments, hot drinks and meals for emergency workers and volunteers. Local volunteers looking where to volunteer in the Winnipeg area should call the city’s informations service by dialling 311, or by visiting the online EmergWeb service or Manitoba provincial EMO (Emergency Measures Organization).

Here in Toronto,
Project417 is on call with the Salvation Army’s Emergency and Disaster Services (EDS) operation if local Manitoba resources are overwhelmed by any increase in need for volunteers. If requested by Manitoba agencies, we would join the Salvation Army and deliver mobile canteens and crisis response units to the people in need. Visit Project417.com for updates on upcoming volunteer opportunities.

In the past year, Project417 has responded twice to the Texas gulf coast near Galveston following Hurricane Ike, as well as helping out with EDS meal services at two recent Toronto area apartment explosions that resulted in the evacuation of over 700 residents. My experience in disaster relief goes back to a 6 month stretch helping in New Orleans after Katrina in 2005 and last fall I took part in the Ontario Provincial EMO exercise in Thunder Bay dubbed “Trillium” – which involved more than 1,500 front-line workers and volunteers responding to a mock disaster simulating conditions related to the eastern Ontario ice storm.

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Update: Red River Flood Watch, North Dakota, Winnipeg Manitoba

Update, Monday March 30, 2009 – Flood Watch –

Volunteer Alerts

Volunteers fill sandbags - photo CBC.ca

Volunteers fill sandbags - photo CBC.ca

North Dakota and Manitoba:

The flood watch in the Red River valley area on both sides of the U.S. Canada border continues today, but with a slight reprieve due to much colder temperatures. The sub-zero weather is slowing the runoff and freezing drainage that runs into the Red River and tributary systems and the flood crest is expected much later this week with many dikes and levees still intact. The work of residents, volunteers and thousands of National Guard and Canadian Armed Forces continues in the extra time that has resulted.

The flood watch in North Dakota has been replaced by a winter storm watch with a blizzard entering the region – which will only add to the snow and ice as melting conditions return and complicate the progress of ice jams up the river valley. Thousands still remain homeless due to flooding and evacuations ordered by authorities.

From the Winnipeg Free Press – “Ice jams aren’t just a problem for residents along the Red River. West of Winnipeg, an ice jam on a creek that flows into the Assiniboine River prompted the evacuation Sunday of 28 homes on the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation. The evacuation of the community of 2,400 was a precautionary measure, and that no homes had been flooded. Residents of the First Nation 261 kilometres west of Winnipeg were taken to Virden”.

Latest Flood Watch Updates from the Red River Valley Area –

Flooding in Fargo eases but winter storm moves in

Volunteers exhausted in battle against flood

Volunteers shift sandbagging efforts north of Selkirk

Chilly Weather Stops Flood in Tracks – Winnipeg

Residents & Volunteers Step up flood fighting preparations

Watches, warning, advisories for North Dakota

Project417 is still on call for the volunteer requirements and will publish an update later this evening.

Ice jams – flooding: Red River threat in Manitoba

Manitoba, North Dakota, Minnesota Flooding and Evacuations

Manitoba – Winnipeg Update: [source yahoo! canada news CP]

The real threat at the moment is coming from ice jams along the river, which have already caused overland flooding north of Winnipeg, he added. “We feel we can handle all the water. It’s the ice that may jam and cause localized flooding that challenged us in the last 48 hours and challenges us for the operation of the floodway.” The province won’t activate the floodway to divert water away from Winnipeg until the ice has cleared, he said. Sandbagging continued Friday to guard against the early stages of any flooding.

Evacuation alerts were still in effect for 850 people from the Roseau River First Nation and Riverside near the U.S. border. About 95 elders and those with chronic conditions were taken by charter buses to Winnipeg from Roseau River on Thursday as a precaution.

Meanwhile, authorities were keeping an eye on the ice jams north of Winnipeg. A blockage near the community of Lockport, Man., led to the evacuation of 40 homes earlier in the week. It broke up, but re-formed down the river. Emergency measures co-ordinator Paul Guyader said firefighters began checking water levels at first light Friday. Sandbagging efforts were focused in areas north of the blocked ice to prevent more homes from flooding, he said.

North Dakota, Minnesota Update: [source cbc.ca]

Ahead of potentially disastrous flooding from the rising Red River, officials in Minnesota asked thousands of households in a city bordering the river to evacuate Friday. About one-third of the households in Moorhead — 2,660 in all — are affected, said city spokeswoman Becky Jahnke. The move follows the mandatory evacuation of more than 190 homes, nursing homes, hospitals and a county jail in North Dakota as the swollen Red River broke a 112-year-old flood level record on Friday.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama has dispatched the acting head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to the region.

Check back to the missionlog here for updates on possible volunteer deployments with Project417 and the Salvation Army Emergency and Disaster Services.

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