March 27, 2017 by Canadian Underwriter
While the risk of overland flooding in Manitoba has been slightly reduced since the provincial government’s outlook in late February, it still remains moderate to major across the province, the provincial infrastructure minister said on Friday.
“The province’s Hydrologic Forecast Centre continues to monitor precipitation, spring melt and inflows from the northern United States and the Souris River basin to the west,” Infrastructure Minister Blaine Pedersen said in a press release. “At this time, the Souris River basin continues to be of concern while favourable weather conditions have eased expected flows in the Red River basin. Based on the current outlook, the chance of closing PTH 75 during the spring runoff is low, Pedersen said, referring to Provincial Trunk Highway 75, the main highway from Winnipeg to the Canada-U.S. border.
While levels of spring flooding continue to be dependent on future weather conditions, the potential for spring runoff is “generally normal to above normal” throughout all watersheds, with the exception of the Souris River basin, which has above normal to well-above normal runoff potential. At this time, it is anticipated the province’s major flood infrastructure, including the Red River Floodway and the Portage Diversion, would be activated under unfavourable weather conditions, the release added.
Currently, with unfavourable weather, the outlook suggests the following risk categories:
The forecasted flood levels for major rivers are as follows:
Dauphin Lake remains a concern at this time, the report noted, saying that even with normal future weather conditions, the lake could rise above the flood stage. With unfavourable weather conditions between now and the spring runoff, the lake could rise more than 1.5 feet above the flood stage.
Following a municipal tour of potentially affected areas throughout southwestern Manitoba, the minister noted that the province plans and prepares for flood risk predicted with unfavourable weather conditions and the scenario of highest flood risk.
“We want to make sure the lines of communication between our government, local municipalities and emergency officials are open and effective,” said Pedersen. “As we approach the spring melt, our number one concern remains the safety of all communities and Manitobans.”
The province will provide daily flood information to municipalities once runoff commences, which they can use to fine tune flood preparations, the release said.