Cold Spring Increases Winnipeg’s Flood Risk

The delayed spring melt due to lingering cold temperatures has increased the risk of ice jams on the Red River.

The ice on the river from Emerson to Winnipeg remains 10 to 20 percent thicker, according to Manitoba flood forecasters. The ice depth is at about three feet currently, which is the average thickness of a provincial winter road.

Three homes in the St. Norbert area are at risk of flooding this year and will require ring dikes around their low-lying properties. The city will notify affected homeowners with the precautions they should take.

Emergency Measures Minister Steve Ashton compared this year’s ice jam situation to a similar scenario in 2009 north of Winnipeg on the Red River near Breezy Point.

The Red River is expected to peak at Emerson either April 18 or 19, with the flow upstream peaking between April 20-22 at around 40,000 cfs.

To ease flows, the Red River Floodway would need to be operated, but the thickness of ice prevents that from happening. Water has to be flowing freely through the channel before the province can decide to raise the gates.

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