UPDATE: 3:15 p.m. — Provincial flood forecasters say the Red River has crested at 22.55 feet in Winnipeg. They advise that while the river has crested, no one should let their guard down.
Winnipeg declared a state of emergency today in certain parts of the city as a precaution against rising flood waters covering all properties on the river side of the primary dike.
Mayor Sam Katz signed the declaration just before 11:30 a.m., while he was helping build sandbag dikes on Scotia Street.
“This activation gives us the ability to respond rapidly and decisively to changing conditions,” said Mayor Katz. “It is not a cause for citizens to be anxious; it simply enables our flood-fighting team to respond quickly should localized issues develop.”
Hundreds of sandbaggers have been working tirelessly since Tuesday evening, but the river levels have kept rising. As of Thursday morning, they were lapping just 15 centimetres from the top of the dikes.
As of Thursday morning, the Red River was sitting at 22.5 feet near James Avenue, which is just two feet below the 1997 flood level.
Volunteers are still urgently needed to sandbag. If you can help out, call 311 or e-mail email@example.com.
A state of emergency does not mean residents are at imminent risk, it simply gives the government additional powers to ensure the best flood protection possible. The State of Local Emergency is in effect until April 29, 2009.
UPDATE: Hot 103 spoke to CBC Manitoba reporter Adrienne Pan over the noon hour. Listen to her take on the situation below.[audio:http://www.chrisd.ca/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/hot-103-cbc-interview-april-16-2009.mp3]