Cool Weather, Slow Melt Increases Manitoba Flood Risk

Flood Watch 2013

The Red River Floodway gates south of Winnipeg as seen on May 1, 2011. (STAN MILOSEVIC / MANITOBAPHOTOS.COM)
The Red River Floodway gates south of Winnipeg as seen on May 1, 2011. (STAN MILOSEVIC / CHRISD.CA FILE)
WINNIPEG — Cool temperatures and additional snowfall has added a burden to Manitoba’s latest flood outlook.

Provincial flood forecasters on Wednesday said delayed snow melt has kept snow on the ground longer, increasing the risk of flooding along the Assiniboine and Souris rivers. Paired with above normal precipitation in Saskatchewan and North Dakota, areas south of Winnipeg could see flooding in their communities and road access hindered in the coming weeks.

The risk along the Red River remains moderate to major as previously projected, while the risk along the Roseau and Pembina rivers has increased.

Forecasters say that while water levels in Brandon will be lower than in 2011, super sandbags will still be placed in the western Manitoba city as a precaution. A contractor has been retained by the province to start assembling the bags, which were placed around the Wheat City two years ago.

Ideal weather conditions to minimize flooding would be daytime highs of just above 0°C and sunny, with freezing temperatures at night. Should Manitoba see another dumping of snow or rain showers, it could add additional risk in areas already preparing for an onslaught of water. A full melt is expected to start occurring between April 15-17.

The province is also implementing 96 of 126 recommendations made last week by the independent 2011 Flood Review Task Force at a cost of $1 billion. video