Flooding expected to get worse in parts of Saskatchewan, Manitoba

Drivers heading northbound on Lagimodiere Boulevard encountered a massive puddle at the...

Drivers heading northbound on Lagimodiere Boulevard encountered a massive puddle at the intersection of Lagimodiere Boulevard and Warman Road in Winnipeg on June 28, 2014. (Brook Jones/QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:36 PM ET

Flooding in southeastern Saskatchewan is expected to match or exceed what happened in 2011, provincial authorities say, and will come with a high price tag.

Premier Brad Wall toured some of the hardest hit areas on Wednesday and said the damage will cost more than the $360 million spent on flood recovery in 2011.

"I have a hard time describing what I saw from the air just in terms of water that is literally everywhere," Wall told CBC while touring the damage in Melville, Sask, 150 km northeast of Regina.

Twenty-five patients from Melville's St. Peter's Hospital and 129 long-term care residents at St. Paul Lutheran Home were moved Tuesday and will remain in their temporary location until Thursday, the Sunrise Health Region said.

In June 2011 record high water levels from melting snow and heavy rains forced more than 4,000 residents from their homes for the Canada Day weekend.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 54 communities in southeastern Saskatchewan had declared states of emergency. Residents near the Qu'Appelle Valley in southeastern Saskatchewan were sandbagging homes Wednesday and the Water Security Agency (WSA) said there are concerns particularly near Round and Crooked lakes, where water levels are rising. "They are now expected to approach the flood levels seen in 2011, which caused significant flooding problems to the communities there," the WSA said on its website.

The WSA says dry conditions are in the forecast, which will allow water to pass but as rivers and lakes come together there will be significant peaks. In Manitoba, states of emergency continued for 41 municipalities, while approximately 250 people left their homes and communities.

In Winnipeg, water flowed through the Red River Floodway for the first time this summer. The floodway was opened at 9 a.m. Tuesday to help combat the high volume of rain that has battered the city.

"There's going to be significant damage to public infrastructure and to both municipal and provincial roads. There's going to be impacts in terms of bridges and clearly agricultural damage," Steve Ashton, the minister of infrastructure and transportation, said at a briefing Wednesday. "We're clearly going to be into some significant cost factors and significant damage."

The province said it will increase water flowing through the Portage Diversion to Lake Manitoba on Saturday, giving property owners from Portage la Prairie to Headingley time to make preparations for higher flows. It believes some residents near Headingley and St. Francois Xavier will need to sandbag their properties.

The federal government "stands ready" to help if and when either province requests federal assistance, the Prime Minister's Office said Wednesday.

-- With files from Kevin King


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