Province of Manitoba – Manitoba Infrastructure’s Hydrologic Forecast Centre reports flood watches for the Fisher River and Pipestone Creek due to potential ice jams and a flood warning for the lower Red River as ice jamming is in effect near Selkirk.
Water levels are significantly increasing across much of southern Manitoba, particularly on the Red River and Assiniboine River tributaries.
Ice is still in place on many rivers and tributaries. The risk of ice jamming in drains and small tributaries is present as flows start to rise. Ice jamming is developing on southern Manitoba’s major rivers.
The province has positioned flood-fighting gear such as pumps, steamers and backhoes in areas of potential concern, mostly in the southwest region of the province.
The province is in contact with municipal emergency co-ordinators.
Temperatures across southern Manitoba are above average, resulting in more melting and run-off.
A combination of rapid melt, ice jamming and blocked culverts may lead to a rapid rise in water levels on tributaries and may cause localized overland flooding. Municipal and provincial crews are thawing culverts on a priority basis.
People are reminded to be watchful of local waterways, as flood conditions can develop quickly.
Avoid driving through moving water as the water depth can be unpredictable and current can push vehicles off the road.
Since run-off may occur quickly, landowners who normally store a portion of run-off in dugouts for irrigation or other water retention structures are encouraged to retain water.
Homeowners should check their sump pumps and hoses to ensure they are fully functional.
It is strongly advised that people be careful if venturing out onto what may appear to be frozen rivers and lakes, due to potential weak ice conditions.
River and Lake Conditions
Red River Basin
The Red River and its tributaries are rising rapidly. The Red River upstream of the floodway inlet is expected to crest on April 4 to 5 at a flow of 69,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) (or 1,954 cubic metres per second [cms]).
The Red River Floodway gates have not been operated as solid ice remains upstream of the floodway. The water level at the floodway inlet has increased enough for water to begin spilling naturally into the channel.
Flow in the channel is 2,225 cfs (63 cms). Intact ice upstream will impact the ability to operate the gates.
The water level at James Ave is 15.8 feet, up 1.9 ft. since yesterday. If ice is intact and the Red River Floodway cannot be operated, it is estimated the Red River water level at James Avenue could see an ice induced level of 20.8 ft. on Sunday morning. If the floodway is operated, open water levels at James Avenue would reach 19.1 ft. with the same flows.
Manitoba Infrastructure is investigating options for early operation of the Red River Floodway including an assessment of ice conditions upstream.
Flows on the Roseau and Pembina rivers are increasing rapidly. The need for a dike closure at Gretna is being monitored due to overland flooding from the Pembina River.
Assiniboine River Basin
The Shellmouth Reservoir has been drawn down in preparation for spring run-off. Outflows from the Shellmouth Dam will be matched to inflows to preserve reservoir storage for the expected peak flows.
The Portage Diversion is being prepared for potential future operation to manage ice on the lower Assiniboine River.
The Fairford Water Control Structure is being operated for maximum possible discharge of approximately 7,732 cfs (219 cms).
The lower Dauphin River is reported to be ice free. There is no risk of frazil ice jamming.
Flows on the Fisher River near Dallas were recorded nearing bankful at 2,700 cfs. Ice jamming remains a concern.
Manitoba’s major lakes are above average levels for this time of year. Lakes are still ice covered at this time.
Flows on the Souris River have not significantly increased.
Flows on the Pipestone Creek are rapidly increasing and are currently recorded at 831 cfs (24 cms). This flow may be ice affected and will be monitored.
Tributaries in Dauphin and Swan River are rising slowly. Run-off rates will increase due to warming temperatures.
The Pas and Northern Manitoba
To date, snowmelt and run-off has been minimal in northern Manitoba watersheds.
For current highway conditions, call 511, visit www.manitoba511.ca, or follow the Twitter account at www.twitter.com/MBGovRoads for closures. A Manitoba 511 app is now available for download at http://residents.gov.mb.ca/apps/511.html.