Rainy River still bracing for flood

Flood waters receded several feet overnight Wednesday on land at the base of the Town of Rainy River.
Still, with word at least two more floodgates were to be opened today at the dam at Fort Frances, the town opted to mobilize hundreds of volunteers to fill and deploy sandbags.
It also hired T. & K. Sharp Construction of Stratton to come in and
complete the berm along the river from Darryl Dyck’s home in Willow
Court to Sixth Street.
Construction rolled into high gear about 2 p.m. on Wednesday and it was nearly completed by about 11 p.m.
The decision late Wednesday to not open any dam floodgates until today, and that any others would be done in stages to reduce the impact downstream, gave Rainy River was it really needed—time.
The opening of two more gates Thursday morning was expected to raise the river level at Rainy River by about four inches. Coun. Larry Armstrong said he expects it will replace the water that had receded overnight.
Abitibi-Consolidated told the town it would like to open at least two more gates Thursday afternoon. Another conference call between the Lake of the Woods Control Board and the International Rainy Lake Board of Control was slated for 1 p.m. to make that decision.
Sandbagging resumed at 10 a.m. on Thursday to complete the reinforcement of the three-foot high berm. About half-a-block was left to complete.
A stockpile of bags also were to be filled in case the water comes up higher than the berm later tonight.
Rainy River Mayor Gord Prost said once the berm is completed, it
will be a wait-and-see situation. “While it really feels like the danger
has passed at this time, we will need people to watch the berm all
night,” he warned this morning.
Volunteers will be asked to patrol it all night as the water from Fort
Frances reaches the Town of Rainy River. It takes about 10-12 hours for
the full impact of the new water to reach Rainy River.
The state of emergency will remain in place for Rainy River until
officials are sure the danger has completely passed. However, Lake of the Woods and Dawson townships removed their states of emergency at 8 a.m. today.
LoW/Dawson Clerk Pat Giles said they also opened Highway 621 at 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday. “It is one lane at some places and there is one detour, but it is passable,” he noted.