Last Thursday, we returned home from a short trip into the city only to discover a survey stick planted in our yard. One side marked the elevation of the 1976 (record year) flood +2' (see free board definition below); the other, the elevation of the side of our cistern. The numbers didn't look good and panic immediately set in. If current predications are correct, the water level will be above our basement windows, which means that our basement will fill with water. Our water supply will be compromised. There might even be some damage to the first floor of our house. Not good.
Height of our cistern:
1976 Flood Level +2':
Anyway, we called the municipality to inquire about sandbagging, then the councillor for our area. He dropped by and eased some of that panic. He told us that there's a 1 in 10 chance that the levels will reach the 1976 record and because the weather is cooperating things might be looking better. We'll all know more when the latest flood forecast is out on March 24. There's still plenty of time to prepare (crest will likely be mid-April) and sandbags will be available if we need them. Both my husband and I took a collective sigh of relief when he left. Panic is abated...for now.
Just in case, though, we bought two extra pumps. One sump pump, in case the current one breaks down; the other is a submersible pump in case we get water in the basement or some leakage through the sandbag dike (if it comes to that).
While we aren't panicking much, our anxiety level is still quite high. Once this flood threat subsides and summer arrives all of this will be behind us. Then we'd only have to the mosquitoes to fight. Oh joy.
If you read my blog regularly you'll know that I usually list new words from books I'm reading. I love learning new words. Since we first heard about the flood, I discovered that you don't have to be reading books to learn some new ones. Well, I knew that before, but I have learned a few new ones I hope to never use again. They are:
- Free Board: The +2' in the 1976 flood level is for free board, which is a factor of safety in flood fight management. Your house should be protected to this level. It's needed in case there are waves, slightly higher than expected levels, or other unforeseen items. Think of it as wiggle room.
- Baie St. Paul: This is a place somewhere in this municipality. I'm not quite sure exactly where it is, but apparently the dikes in the area are being raised. Not quite sure if or how it affects us (we're downriver).
- Overland flood insurance: Sadly, no such thing in Manitoba.
- Portage diversion: Diverts water from the Assiniboine River northward towards the lakes; helps alleviate flooding along the Assiniboine River from Portage la Prairie to Winnipeg.
- Shellmouth Reservoir: A man-made dam and reservoir (in Manitoba and Saskatchewan) built to help alleviate flooding on the Assiniboine River.
That's it for this update. We'll know more later this week when the new flood forecast is released.
Disclaimer: If you came here for information about the Manitoba Flood 2011, you've probably come to the wrong place. This post (or series of posts) will focus only on my backyard and house. If you are looking for general information regarding the flood, try the Government of Manitoba website, which can be found here or here for more area specific information regarding the Cartier, St. Francois Xavier and Headingley areas.