Seldom in recent memory has Manitoba faced the possibility of a spring flood on so many fronts.
The flood potential is high on most of the province’s major rivers and tributaries, Manitoba Water Stewardship warns.
The main concern is the Red River, where officials expect a flood slightly above 2009 levels with favourable weather. Unfavourable weather could push flood waters close to levels experienced during the 1997 so-called Flood of the Century.
But the potential for flooding exists along other rivers and in other regions, too, according to Water Stewardship’s latest flood forecast March 25.
Pembina River – Average weather conditions will produce peak water levels slightly higher than 1997. With unfavourable weather there’s a one in 10 chance of flooding above 2009 levels.
Assiniboine River – The Shellmouth Reservoir has been drawn down to its winter target level. Average weather may produce flooding levels from Millwood to Brandon higher than in 1979 but below 1995. Unfavourable weather could flood valley land above both 1976 and 1995 levels.
The province is reinforcing and raising earthen dikes along the Assiniboine for 70 km from Portage la Prairie to just east of the Baie St. Paul bridge north of Elie. The dike was first constructed in 1912 and reinforced in 1950 and 1997.
Souris River – The flood potential is high because of high soil moisture and above-normal snow cover in North Dakota. Significant flooding of farmland is likely.
Interlake region – The region is already saturated and flood prone. Average weather conditions will produce flooding on the Fisher River close to 1996 levels. Overland flooding is almost inevitable. Record-high levels are expected on the Shoal Lakes.
Eastern region – The best-case scenario is for localized flooding along the Brokenhead, Whitemouth, Whiteshell and Winnipeg rivers. Unfavourable weather could produce near-record flooding on rivers and agricultural land.
Westlake, Dauphin and The Pas regions – Localized flooding with average weather conditions. General flooding with unfavourable weather.
Livestock organizations are encouraging producers to be on standby for possibly relocating animals in flood zones. Dairy Farmers of Manitoba says it will help transport animals from flooded farms to new temporary housing. DFM will transfer the quota and co-ordinate milk pickups to the new locations.
(With files from Natasha Tersigni)