DAILY NEWS Feb 28, 2013 1:16 PM - 0 comments

Spring flood risk for Manitoba lower than 2011, moderately higher than last year

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The spring flood outlook for this year in Manitoba is moderately higher than last year, but significantly lower than 2011, which had the greatest amount of flooding in the province’s history in terms of scope and duration.

Manitoba flooding in 2011According to Manitoba’s Hydrologic Forecast Centre’s preliminary 2013 spring flood outlook, there could be a risk of minor to moderate spring flooding for the Red, Souris, Pembina and Assiniboine rivers, and in the Interlake region.

“Above-average snowpack with high moisture content in many parts of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and North Dakota have increased the potential for flooding this year, but overall low soil moisture levels in the province mean the flood risk in 2013 is, at this point, considerably less than in 2011 and moderately higher than in 2012,” the province says.

Spring flooding is expected in parts of northern Manitoba, including overland flooding around The Pas, an agricultural area that saw significant snowfalls this season. “At this point, it is unlikely the Saskatchewan River at The Pas will exceed its banks, however the province has constructed new dikes in the area that are capable of taking water levels beyond levels seen in 2011,” the government noted.

The spring flood potential is still dependent on weather conditions from now until the spring melt.  

The amount of additional snow and rain, the timing and rate of the spring thaw and the timing of peak flows in the U.S., Manitoba and other provinces will have a significant effect on flood potential, the province says. The province’s next flood outlook for the spring will be at the end of March.

The government has also been preparing for spring flooding by holding about a dozen training sessions with municipal emergency training staff over the past few months.

Following severe 2011 flooding, Manitoba launched a multi-year recovery process that is still underway. “..so far 95% of the program payments under the Lake Manitoba Flood Compensation Program have been paid and over 80%t of private disaster financial assistance claims have been closed to date,” the government noted.  The total flood expenditure to date exceeds $1.2 billion.

Detailed information about the flood outlook, including maps, is available on the Manitoba government’s website.

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