Monday, June 13, about 11 a.m., became a terrifying time for the community of Vogar, Manitoba.
My family has lived in this district for over 100 years, along the lake the entire time. As there was a south wind that day, I called my sister-in-law to see how things were going.
She answered the phone in a very alarmed state. "We're breaching all over the place here!"
My parents, aged 71 and 75, live on the same home quarter, normally 1/4 mile from the lake. I immediately phoned them. I was the one to tell them that the much feared breach had already occurred in the first storm that featured south winds, the ones most dangerous for them. My brother and sister-in-law told them to leave. My parents drove away from more than 50 years of their hard work, away from their beloved son and daughter-in-law, over a road that was also breaching. The wind got stronger, and I headed into this, thinking I could help my brother. The water was going over Steinthorson road, not deep, but with strong winds, it was spraying so heavily over my windshield I couldn't see where I was going. I had two 14 year old boys with me; I didn't think to prepare them for the possibility that we might drive off of this road. I had totally misjudged the situation. I don't have a picture of this road; I was much too terrified at that point to stop to take the picture.
My son and I arrived at my brother's driveway; it was totally inundated with water. We climbed up onto the dyke to walk to the house There must be something, we thought, that we could do to help them. I was madly texting our other sisters, en route from Winnipeg and Gimli. “Don't come here" I said. We had been thinking that we would be sandbagging. I had to catch them before they tried to get through. When we got close enough that Greg, my brother, could yell to us over the wind, he shouted to us to turn back. We made our way back to my Mom and Dad's house; I wasn't going anywhere until the wind died down. My husband was about 20 minutes behind me with the truck and quad. By then, the authorities weren't going to let him in. They made an exception. He came up to the house, and he yelled at us to get on the quad. We were under mandatory evacuation. By the time we got to the crossroads of the two homes, the crew that had been at my brother's had gotten out on tractor. EMO people were shouting at us to leave. We took Teresa and the pets and drove away. Leaving Greg behind to fend for his home; we headed for town to pick up the younger four of their five children to tell them that they had been evacuated.
The story has no end. We are expecting more water in this lake. What will happen then? What about a crest? What about during the heavy water of the fall? This episode was just the beginning.