Manitoba says ready to fight 3rd flood of the year

Mon Jul 4, 2011 2:17pm EDT
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Floodwaters rose toward another record-setting crest in the Western Canadian province of Manitoba on Monday, but the provincial government said it is well-prepared to fight the third major flood it has faced this year.

The swollen Souris River, which swamped 3,000 homes in Minot, North Dakota, last month, will reach record-high crests starting as early as Monday as it flows north of the border into Manitoba.

Work by Canadian soldiers and volunteers on hastily raising dikes in southwestern Manitoba's tiny farm communities was "going extremely well," and was set to be complete by midday Monday, said Chuck Sanderson, executive director of the government's Emergency Measures Organization.

Hot, dry weather has aided flood-fighting efforts for the past week.

The Souris River flood follows the larger Red and Assiniboine rivers spilling their banks this spring. Flooding in July is rare in Manitoba.

"This has smashed the records of highest inflow of any flood (season)," said Steve Topping, who is in charge of water control at the provincial government.

Spring rainstorms on ground still saturated from last year have also hit the neighboring province of Saskatchewan and the U.S. northern Plains, a fertile region that usually produces large harvests of spring wheat and durum.


<p>A man looks at a flooded farm field from a deliberate breach of a dike on the Assiniboine River near Newton, Manitoba May 17, 2011. REUTERS/Shaun Best</p>