Manitoba may see ‘minor to moderate’ flooding

Manitoba’s preliminary spring flood outlook for 2013 suggests a possible risk of "minor to moderate" flooding along the Red, Souris, Pembina and Assiniboine Rivers and in the province’s 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, the province noted in its outlook Wednesday.

However, overall low soil moisture levels in Manitoba mean the flood risk in 2013 is, at this point, "considerably less than in 2011 and moderately higher than in 2012."

The province’s Hydrologic Forecast Centre noted that at the time of freeze-up in 2012, soil moisture levels were "significantly lower than the unprecedented and widespread wet conditions seen in 2010 prior to the major 2011 floods."

Spring flooding is likely in portions of northern Manitoba including overland flooding in the agricultural area around The Pas, which went into winter with above-average soil moisture conditions and has seen "significant" snowfall so far this winter, the province said.

That said, overall spring flood potential still depends on the weather from now until spring melt. 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."

Saskatchewan’s Water Security Agency earlier this month forecast "above-average" spring runoff due to an above-average snowpack in that province.

To manage the potential risk from high eastbound water flow, Manitoba’s forecast centre noted, there has been a "controlled release" of water from the Shellmouth Dam since February, expected to increase its reservoir capacity by approximately 10 feet.

Manitoba’s next flood outlook is scheduled for the end of March.

Related stories:
Above-normal runoff expected in Saskatchewan, Feb. 28, 2013
No answer on when producers might receive flood compensation for 2012, Feb. 28, 2013

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