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Manitoba’s Flood Outlook Remains Favourable if Weather Cooperates

March 31, 2020 3:07 PM | News

Ron Schuler

Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler delivers Manitoba’s first flood outlook of the season in Winnipeg on Thursday, February 27, 2020. (CHRISD.CA FILE)

WINNIPEG — Barring any last blast of winter weather by Mother Nature, Manitoba’s spring flood conditions remain favourable.

The province on Tuesday released its second outlook of the season, saying water levels are predicted to be similar to spring 2019 levels under favourable conditions.

“Our outlook remains similar to the first outlook we released in late February and our focus continues to be on the Red River this spring,” said Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler.

“Forecasters are expecting a significant inflow of water from the northern United States and they expect high water levels similar to last spring, barring a major early April storm with substantial precipitation or a fast melt.”

If spring weather conditions should bring more precipitation than usual, run-off levels could near 2011 levels. Environment Canada is forecasting 30-40 mm of precipitation later this week, but Schuler says the weather event shouldn’t have an impact on their predictions.

Under average weather conditions, Schuler says water levels on the Red River would sit closer to 2006 levels. In that year, Highway 75 was closed for 18 days, while 2011 saw the major Canada-U.S. artery closed for 28 days under unfavourable conditions.

The Assiniboine River is only expected to see very minor overbank flooding due to well below snowpack.

COVID-19 sandbagging contingency plans

The province will release a protocol later this week to emergency coordinators in communities that may have to sandbag. The protocol will include appropriate measures to maintain social distancing while sandbagging and building dikes, if required.

Schuler says emergency services are continuing during the COVID-19 pandemic and any high water response will be developed with the coronavirus in mind.