Winds trigger Lake Manitoba flooding

June 1, 2011 at 7:24 AM
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WINNIPEG, Manitoba, June 1 (UPI) -- About 700 people near the southeastern shore of Canada's Lake Manitoba were evacuated when high winds caused waves to swamp the shoreline, officials said.

The winds came up suddenly Tuesday on the lake, which is 15 inches higher than usual due to seasonal flooding, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Provincial officials said the lake had risen by 3 inches since Monday, the Winnipeg Sun reported.

The Rural Municipality of St. Laurent issued mandatory evacuation orders for 80 properties, but the water was flowing so quickly, some people couldn't get out in time and had to be rescued by police and firefighters using helicopters and inflatable boats, reports said.

St. Laurent fire Chief Real Fontaine told the CBC dikes and sandbags were overwhelmed.

"Within an hour we had roads washed out. We had to go in and do an emergency evacuation, really, really quick," he said. "It was unbelievable how fast it was coming in."

Several smaller communities were evacuated from near the lake, which is swollen by the flooding Assiniboine River, officials said.

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