Manitoba to See 2009 Flood Levels This Spring

Pieces of ice flow downstream in the Red River south of Winnipeg in this April 2009 file photo. (CHRISD.CA)

As predicted, Manitoba is in for severe flooding this spring, due to above-normal snow levels in the latter half of last year.

The province unveiled its first flood forecast of the year Monday, saying a flood the size of 2009 is anticipated while unfavourable weather could result in a flood of 1997 levels.

Much of the spring flood potential is still very dependent on weather conditions from now through to the spring melt.

Localized overland flooding is expected in most of central and southern Manitoba and could occur during the early part of the run-off period due to ice jams, snow blockages or frozen culverts in river channels, drains and ditches.

Officials gave varying scenarios for the flood threat based on favourable, average and unfavourable weather conditions in several localized areas of the province. The Red River basin is expected to remain below 1997 levels, but with another large snowstorm, precipitation could increase to higher levels in most locations. However, on the positive side, forecasters say there is a one-in-10 chance of unfavourable weather.

In Brandon, the Assiniboine River could vary anywhere from seeing 1976 flood levels or just a minor flood depending on the weather outlook.

In total, the province is spending $22 million on flood protection this year.

Last week, the U.S. National Weather Service predicted major spring flooding in Fargo and surrounding areas. However, officials warn the threat south of the border doesn’t necessarily mean Manitobans could be faced with the same situation.

For specific flooding forecasts in other parts of the province, read the full news release put out by the province.

— With files from ChrisD.ca’s Sarah Klein


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