Forecasters focus on Red River water levels: MB spring thaw report

WINNIPEG, (MarketsFarm) – As the spring melt continues, the Province of Manitoba issued its second spring thaw outlook of 2020.

“Our outlook remains similar to the first outlook we released in late February and our focus continues to be on the Red River this spring. Forecasters are expecting a significant inflow of water from the northern United States and they expect high water levels similar to last spring, barring a major early April storm with substantial precipitation or a fast melt,” said Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler in a prepared statement.

With favourable weather conditions the province’s Hydrologic Forecast Centre expects high water similar to those during last spring. That would include using the Red River Floodway, according to the statement.

With average spring weather conditions, the centre said flooding would be comparable to that in 2006, which included closing Highway 75 for 18 days.

If there are unfavourable weather conditions, then it’s very likely flooding will be much like that in 2011, the centre said. In 2011, Hwy. 75 was closed for 28 days.

Along the Assiniboine River, the expectation is for run-off to largely remain within the riverbanks, with some flooding in a few locations.

Added to any flood mitigation measures this spring will be contending with the COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing measures associated with it.

Schuler commented that contingency plans are in place, which would include appropriate personal protections. As well procedures have been developed for the safety of workers building dikes and preparing sandbags.

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