Red River Flooding

Richard Tsong-Taatarii / The Associated Press
Richard Tsong-Taatarii / The Associated Press

When I landed at YWG last Friday I was excited to just come home and relax. I quickly started noticing the subtle differences from leaving a metropolis for a smaller city. I no longer had to key in an area code when dialing a phone number (we’ve only got one: 204 represent!). Most people live in houses (not apartments), so I was pushing doorbells instead of buzzers- who knew the sound “ding dong” still even existed! I shovel the walk every day to clear the snow so that the milkman can get to our front door to deliver our weekly order. I began to enjoy the nuances of being back in Winnipeg and started to enjoy my relaxation. And then, the reports of flooding started…

Look at that picture. That guy’s house is underwater up to the roof!

This is the scene in lower Manitoba and North Dakota right now. The Red River- which cuts right through the middle of North America- has always been trouble. When there’s a lot of precipitation in the winter, in the spring, it melts and causes the river to crest meters above normal levels. This wreaks havoc on neighbouring communities.

Fortunately, my house in Winnipeg isn’t near the river so my family is in no immediate danger. Most of the city of Winnipeg is fairly well protected. It’s the rural towns and cities that are in the most trouble. I can remember back in 1997 when the river flooded. Schools were let out so that the students could form a makeshift “disaster relief force”. We sandbagged a lot of land that spring. The media dubbed it “The Flood of the Century.” Well, the 20th century ended 9 years ago, and it looks like the 21st has its first contender.

Related Stories: