‘Cautiously optimistic’ about flood prospect for Manitoba

Seasonally average weather should head off the worst of flooding along the Red River

Flooding along the Rat River near La Rochelle.

Flooding along the Red River remains on track to hit at or below 2006 levels.

“Everything is, at the present time, under control,” said Ralph Groening, reeve of the RM of Morris.

Groening said he’s “cautiously optimistic” that they’ll see a relatively insignificant flood.

At the end of March, the province’s flood outlook predicted that with average weather conditions, water levels would be similar to 2006. That year, Provincial Trunk Highway 75 was closed for 18 days, according to a provincial news release.

Unfavourable weather could lead to levels akin to 2011, which closed PTH 75 for 28 days.

A provincial spokesperson told the Co-operator that weather has been near average. As a result, water levels similar to 2006 are expected between Emerson and St. Jean, and lower levels north of St. Jean to the Red River Floodway.

The floodway gates were opened in the evening of April 10.

As of April 15, PTH 75 remained open, but this remained a day-by-day decision, the spokesperson said.

A ramp on the north side of the town of Morris is complete, which will allow the highway to remain open as long as possible.

The province said it’s preparing materials for the north and south sides of Morris if a closure of PTH 75 becomes necessary. A detour will ensure continued movement of goods along this major truck route.

Meanwhile, the RM of Montcalm (which extends from the Canada-U.S. border to Morris), declared a state of emergency on April 11. Six households along St. Mary’s Road and Provincial Road 246 were required to evacuate.

Groening said the RM of Morris is monitoring water levels, but doesn’t plan to evacuate any residents yet.

Some roads in the RM are closed, but this was expected, he said.

“It looks like maybe we’ll be OK,” Groening said.

Groening said, so far, COVID-19 safety measures haven’t hampered flood planning.

April 3, the province announced new safety procedures for municipalities to ensure flood response workers’ safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes the standard two-metre distance between people, regular disinfecting of surfaces, and appropriate personal protective equipment.

In a bulletin on April 14, the RM of Ritchot advised residents the municipality had a stockpile of sandbags available for delivery, but “social distancing may limit this resource effectiveness.”

The same bulletin advised that, due to its focus on COVID-19, the province would not be involved in evacuations if they became necessary.

Several roads in the RM have been closed because of high water.

About the author


Geralyn Wichers

Geralyn Wichers grew up on a hobby farm near Anola, Manitoba, where her family raised cattle, pigs and chickens. Geralyn graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in 2019 and was previously a reporter for The Carillon in Steinbach. Geralyn is also a published author of science fiction and fantasy novels.



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