Things have been tense here in Manitoba for the past week or so… longer, for some. In recent days, the provincial flood forecast has been changing frequently, and almost hourly at times. When people have been sandbagging frantically to build a dike, it can be rather disheartening to hear that the anticipated water level just went up another eight inches, or two feet. The present forecast suggests that the water level will be second only to the legendary “Flood of the Century” in 1997, ranking this flood second over the past hundred years. To make matters worse, the two rivers that meet in downtown Winnipeg are projected to crest at the same time.
Over the past couple of days, I’ve been helping friends build a sandbag dike around their home, on which the water is even now closing in around. I snapped a couple of photos with my phone while I’ve been hanging around the water’s edge lately. The first provides a small bit of perspective with floodwater covering a road. You can’t really see it in this photo, but there’s a pickup truck with under water over the top of its hood, having driven partway into the ditch. For those who don’t already know, this is an illustration of why it’s a bad idea to drive through deep floodwater while attempting to keep to where you think the road is.
Meanwhile, I snapped another photo that illustrates how kids just never seem to have quite the same perspective of events as everyone else.
We’ve been watching coverage of the event online at CBC’s Flood Watch 2009. Having been through the major flood of ’97 only 12 years ago, it’s enough a part of recent memory that people are somewhat calmer and feeling better prepared than last time, but the role of ice jams in this year’s flood has led to a lot of unpredictability and rapidly-changing circumstances. In one area, an ice jam led to a six-foot rise in the water level in just a 15-minute period.