Peguis First Nation under mandatory evacuation after extreme flooding

Flooding has forced evacuations in some parts of Manitoba after heavy rains caused rivers to swell.

The Peguis First Nation, about 150 kilometres north of Winnipeg, was placed under a mandatory evacuation order after ice jams on the Fisher River drove up water levels.

“We have probably 480 some-odd homes that are completely surrounded by water and roads have been breached,” Chief Glen Hudson said Monday.

More than 200 homes close to the river and housing close to 900 people were evacuated. Residents were sent to hotels in nearby communities, including Selkirk, Gimli and Winnipeg.

“We have been seeing waters at unprecedented levels as far as the Fisher River watershed is concerned,” said Hudson, who added water levels appeared to be higher than during the community’s last major flood evacuation in 2011.

South of Winnipeg, water had risen to cover some rural roads, requiring people to leave before losing road access.

The Manitoba government said southern parts of the province received four to six times the normal amount of precipitation in April, much of it in the form of snow that was melting at the same time as heavy rains on the weekend.

The forecast contains some good news. Dry, warm weather is predicted for the remainder of the week.

The Red River Valley, including Winnipeg, is largely protected by community dikes and diversion channels that were expanded after the so-called flood of the century in 1997.

The First Nation said a response team will help evacuate residents with mobility challenges. It said all evacuees must be registered before leaving the community at its emergency operations centre at the Peguis Multiplex or by calling 204-645-2869.

Further details of the evacuation order can be found on the First Nation’s website.

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