"We're holding our own," said R.M. of Morris Reeve Ralph Groening in an update on the flood situation in his municipality Thursday morning. He felt the Red River crest had already arrived in his municipality, if not then it was close.
Measurements taken by the Province at Highway 23 near Morris on Wednesday showed the Red River hit at the low end of its forecasted peak at 780.62 feet, with the potential to rise one more foot to 781.2 feet.
So far, Groening says officials have been able to deal with any challenges that have presented themselves due to the flood water.
"We have about fifty sites where residents have already relocated, a hundred-plus people who have chosen to evacuate because it simply wasn't safe for them to travel back and forth," he said. "So, we've managed. We have dozens of roads that are washed out, closed, and we have culvert washouts pretty much every day. We have to be very careful as the roads that are open continue to be safe."
If the Red River were to rise another foot, that would put it at 2009 flood levels. In an earlier interview, Groening said that would result in the loss of road access at Riverside. So far, he says the road remains open.
"We've really put a focus into retaining road access. It's tenuous. We have about a mile or so of road that is being monitored. We have Commissionaires in place to limit the travel. It is far from ideal but residents still do have the ability, but they need to be very careful," he explained. "So, so far so good."
Groening reported all of the other communities are doing fine, and the Municipality has been in contact with the Province to ensure they remain open, particularly Rosenort.
Meantime, the Reeve says officials are keeping a very close eye on the forecast which is predicting anywhere from 20 mm to 50 mm of rain could fall in the region by Friday morning. Groening explained, any added moisture mixed with the wave action created by high winds would further erode the Riverside road, and the rest of the Municipality's infrastructure.
"So, we will be watching it closely."
"We can just be hopeful that the rain amounts will be minimal," added Groening. "Even an inch would be too much but we would accept that instead of two inches."
Overall, Groening says people are managing.
"But I think we're all very tired of the Flood of 2022," he added, noting they didn't think they'd be preparing for a flood event of this level.
The timeframe involved with this flood is also going longer than expected, said Groening.
"(It's) the middle of May. This is too late. It's been a long stretch. And our agriculture community, we have to begin to think about that. Seventy per cent of our tax base is agriculture."