Province says flood outlook remains weather dependent

FLOOD: Forecasters expect high water levels similar to last spring, barring major weather events

USGS personnel measure flood overflow at a bridge on the Red River near Thompson, North Dakota on April 6 during the flood of 2006.

With rivers near Fargo and Grand Forks at flood stage, a significant inflow of water is expected in Manitoba soon, the province announced March 31.

“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,” said minister of infrastructure Ron Schuler in a news release.

“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,” he added.

The province’s hydrologic forecast centre said that with “average” conditions, the Red River could see levels similar to 2006, when floodwaters closed Highway 75 for 18 days.

With “favourable” conditions, flooding could be similar to last year, the province said. Last year, PTH 75 wasn’t closed because of flooding.

Poor weather conditions could, however, result in run-off nearing 2011 levels. Flooding in 2011 followed one of southern Manitoba’s wettest years on record, followed by what the province called a “super-charged weather bomb” that dumped between 50 and 100 millimeters of snow.

The Red River peaked at its third-highest in 150 years. The Assiniboine River reached its highest level since 1923. Flood affected three million hectares of farmland, according to provincial statistics.

Schuler added that the province has contingency plans in place to deal with flood fighting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We will be prepared for any high-water event that may develop over the coming weeks,” Schuler said.

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