WINNIPEG — As a spring storm prepares to dump 30 to 80 millimetres of rain on southern and central Manitoba this weekend, officials are now preparing for flood levels to reach those of 2009 in certain areas.
On the Red River, between Emerson and the floodway inlet, water levels similar to 2009 could mean the highest since the 1997 flood of the century.
Flood watches remain in effect for portions of southern and central Manitoba due to the risk of overland flooding as the result of the forecast rain.
Environment Canada has a rainfall warning in place for Winnipeg and southern Manitoba.
“Rain will lift northwards into the province tonight, bringing 20 to 50 mm of rain over the following 24 to 36 hours,” the warning says. “Like the previous storm, embedded thunderstorms are also possible near the international border and could bring higher rainfall rates to the region.”
The increased flows mean the province is expected to close Highway 75 tonight. Traffic will be detoured onto Highway 205 at Aubigny, along PR 246 to Highway 23 at Morris and back onto Highway 75.
Johanu Botha, the head of Manitoba’s Emergency Measures Organization, says more than 20,000 sandbags have been delivered to communities in the Red River Valley. Pre-evacuation planning is also underway and residents can register in advance.
“Our emergency response system has ramped up,” Botha said. “We are well-positioned to respond to the events that might come our way.”
Watch Friday’s news conference: