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Flood Fears Ease in Manitoba Amid Good Weather and Slow Melt

March 25, 2022 1:03 PM | The Canadian Press

By The Canadian Press

Assiniboine River

A woman runs on a path along the Assiniboine River as the Provencher pedestrian bridge towers above her in Winnipeg, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

WINNIPEG — Fears of spring flooding are easing in Manitoba, thanks to recent weather.

A winter of heavy snowfall had initially raised worries across much of the province. But two weeks of slow melting — above-zero temperatures during the day and below-freezing at night — has reduced the snowpack and lessened the risk of a sudden rush of water into rivers and lakes.

There have also been no major rain or snowstorms in that time.

“Mother Nature has been co-operating very favourably,” Fisaha Unduche, head of the province’s flood forecasting centre, said Friday.

While there is still a risk of things deteriorating if the weather in April is significantly worse than normal, the province is expecting the water to remain below community dikes and other protection measures.

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Manitoba is often at risk of spring flooding as water comes in from as far away as Alberta and South Dakota. The province has a series of reservoirs, dikes and ditches to keep rising rivers away from communities while the water continues to flow into Lake Winnipeg and Hudson Bay.

Often, some farmland and roads are briefly submerged while homes and businesses remain dry.

The Red River Floodway, a 47-kilometre-long channel that diverts water around Winnipeg, will be used again this spring to keep river levels in check within the capital. The Portage Diversion, which directs some water from the Assiniboine River into Lake Manitoba, is also expected to be in operation, Unduche said.

The Red River is expected to crest twice next month. In Winnipeg, the peak is expected sometime around April 5 and again mid-month, Unduche added.

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