Chances of flooding in Manitoba depends on weather, spring thaw

WINNIPEG, Feb. 28 (MarketsFarm) – As winter comes to an end, the Manitoba government issued its spring thaw forecast of 2020, with high water levels coming for the Red River. That’s due to significant soil moisture levels left over from the fall and above normal snow levels in the river’s United States watershed.

“Our focus is currently on the Red River, where we are expecting a significant inflow of water from the northern United States, but with favourable weather conditions in Manitoba, we would expect high water levels similar to last spring,” said Manitoba Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler in a prepared statement.

That would mean Highway 75 is likely to remain open this spring between Emerson and Winnipeg. Also, that would result in the Red River Floodway being put into operation for the 34th time in its 51 years.

Should southern Manitoba receive normal weather conditions, the flood risk increases to levels similar to that in 2011, according to a report from the province’s Hydrological Forecast Centre. If the weather is unfavourable then the risk would probably result in flooding last seen in 2009.

Also, the province forecast moderate flooding on Pembina and Roseau Rivers, which empty into the Red.

Further to the west, the flood forecast is not as severe due to less snow.

“The Assiniboine River basin and other rivers are expected to remain mostly in bank, with possible over-bank high water covering agricultural land,” said Schuler.

In a favourable weather situation, water levels on the Assiniboine would be equivalent to those in 2018 and 2019, according to the hydrological forecast. With normal weather, that increases to water levels experienced in 2014 and 2016. If there are unfavourable conditions, then flood levels seen in 1995 and 2013 would be expected.

The province expects to use the Portage Diversion for the 38th time in 50 years in order to reduce the chances of ice jamming in the lower section of the Assiniboine, between Portage la Prairie and Winnipeg.

In the Interlake, the forecast said there is a low risk of flooding in the region, but the threat of ice jams on Fisher and Icelandic Rivers remains high. To mitigate that threat, the province will redeploy its amphibexes to those rivers once their work on the Red River north of Selkirk is completed.

In Eastern Manitoba, despite high moisture levels in the fall, the threat of flooding is low as the snowpack has been below normal.

In Northern Manitoba, around the Pas area, flooding on the Saskatchewan River was forecast to be low.

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