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WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 16, 2011, 05:30 PM

Manitoba Cities Begin Flood Preparations

The city of Morris is protected by a ring dike and rural homes were raised above flood level. But when three of the four major roads close because of spring flooding every year, being isolated is a big worry.

The province of Manitoba is not too worried about homes flooding in rural areas because many homes and cities are protected from overland flooding.

"We are anticipating a lot of overland flooding, we are preparing for a lot. It will be minimal, but we are preparing for it. For instance, we brought in an extra two dozen road closed signs and those kinds of things. We know there will be an impact on our road infrastructure," said Morris, MB, Mayor Ralph Groening.

Groening is the mayor and emergency manager. He says the city of Morris is protected by a ring dike and rural homes were raised above flood level. But when three of the four major roads close because of spring flooding every year, being isolated is a big worry.

"The biggest problem is highway 75 because 2009 was pretty bad and the highway was closed for 2-3 weeks and a lot of truck traffic from the states coming and going to the states had to make big detours," said Morris resident Gordon Eidsc.

Officials say the flood numbers are going to be like they were in 2009. That means Highway 75 is going to be cut off, which can be bad for business.

"It will be a huge hit to them being on the main highway to the U.S. and Winnipeg. We really rely on the traffic going through for our businesses and they will really feel a pinch if we are closed down to highway traffic," said Morris resident Tim Lewis.

And people living in Morris hope this won't be a problem for long.

"The province in a joined effort with the town are looking at some flood mediation efforts as in some new diking so that will help some future high water," said Morris resident Trevor Thiessen.

"One of the big things that have been talked about for the last number of years is trying to make highway 75 an all-weather road, raising it so that we are never completely cut off," said Lewis.

But until then, the city of Morris is prepared for another spring of flooding.

"Our flood protection is in place, our plans never change. We have been through this drill so often unfortunately it seems almost every year. So we're ready, we're prepared. We're always prepared," said Groening.

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