Flood officials in Manitoba say the Red River could crest at Ste. Agathe and St. Adolphe early next week.

The province has lowered projected crest levels along the Red in the Rural Municipality of Ritchot. In Ste. Agathe it is expected to crest between Monday and Wednesday of next week, between 772.0 and 772.6 feet. In 2009, it reached 774.10 feet. In St. Adolphe, it is expected to crest between Tuesday and Friday of next week, between 768.0 and 768.4 feet. In 2009, it reached 769.26 feet.

"I'm hoping that they are correct, that the water is not going to be near as high as they projected originally and people can stay in their homes," notes Ritchot Mayor Chris Ewen. "I personally find it hard to believe."

Ewen says the water is still rising quite significantly in his municipality. He notes there continue to be more and more road closures and the flood waters have now entered some barns and garages in the municipality. However, as of Thursday morning, Ewen says he is not aware of any homes that have flooded.

The municipality has issued 180 evacuation notices. Ewen says about one-third of those homes are now evacuated. He reminds residents that this evacuation notice is entirely voluntary, though he says for those receiving one, it is highly recommended. Ewen says any resident who receives one, should really consider the consequences of choosing to stay in their home. He stresses the importance for those people to have adequate food, fuel for their generator and a line of communication. Ewen says these people should consider what appointments they have scheduled in the coming days, whether they are at a higher risk of requiring medical attention and whether they have enough food and supplies for their pets.

According to Ewen, the municipality has issued more than 120,000 sandbags already.

"That tells us that people are still continuing to work to protect their homes and their properties," adds Ewen.

Anyone looking to volunteer with sandbagging efforts is invited to call Ritchot's flood inquiry line at 1-204-883-2147.

Meanwhile, Ewen says at St. Adolphe, the province had talked about closing the dike on the east side of town, but it now sounds as though traffic will still be able to cross there.