FLOOD BULLETIN #12 - Media Release

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Province Provides Information on Potential Impact of Upcoming Precipitation System, Flood Watch Issued for Portions of Southern Manitoba

Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure’s Hydrologic Forecast Centre is monitoring a precipitation system forecast for this weekend that is expected to bring 30 to 80 millimetres of rain to southern and central Manitoba basins including the United States portions of the Red and Souris river basins. This is a dynamic system and the amounts and location of precipitation could shift as the system moves into Manitoba.

The Hydrologic Forecast Centre is closely monitoring this system and its impacts on flows and levels in Manitoba rivers. Depending on the amount of precipitation received, levels along the Red River between Emerson and the floodway inlet could be similar to those observed in the spring flooding in 2009. Forecasters will continue monitoring the system and issue updates as more information is known.

Flood watches have been issued for portions of southern and central Manitoba due to the risk of overland flooding in these areas as the result of the forecast rain. Most ditches and waterways are either full or near their capacity. Heavy rain occurring in a short period in saturated soils could create overland flooding.

Water levels on the Red, Assiniboine and many other rivers are increasing. The rate of increase in the Red River basin and streams in south central Manitoba has slowed when compared to the rapid water level rise seen at many locations earlier in the week. Rivers and tributaries in areas that still have snow accumulations should expect rapid increases in water levels as runoff from snowmelt picks up. This weekend’s precipitation will cause further water level increases.

The Red River Floodway and the Portage Diversion continue to operate to lower water levels in Winnipeg.

Provincial crews are deployed to a number of communities in the Red River Valley running pumping operations, as well as preparing for and implementing dike closures, as required. Crews are closely monitoring river levels at the town of Morris and have been working to keep Provincial Trunk Highway (PTH) 75 open as long as possible. However, rising water levels mean that PTH 75 north of Morris is expected to be closed later this this evening. PTH 75 traffic will be detoured onto Provincial Road (PR) 205 at Aubigny, along PR 246 to PTH 23 at Morris and back onto PTH 75.

Rising waters may necessitate dike or highway closures at some locations, and Manitobans are reminded to stay off closed roads and to not attempt to travel across inundated roads. Up-to-date information on highway conditions, including detours and road closures, is available at www.manitoba511.ca or by calling 511. Manitobans should also stay off waterways including creeks, streams, rivers and the floodway. High flows, debris and cold temperatures present a significant safety risk.

Warnings and high water advisories:

  • A flood warning remains for the Red River from Emerson to the Red River Floodway Inlet, and the La Salle River. A flood watch is issued for the Roseau River and a flood watch remains for all Red River tributaries.
  • A flood warning remains for the Pembina River in Manitoba. Forecasters continue to monitor the weather and basin conditions and will update river forecasts to reflect conditions.
  • A flood warning has been issued for the Fisher River.
  • Water levels on the Assiniboine River are rising due to local runoff and tributary inflows. A flood warning for the Assiniboine River from St. Lazare to Brandon remains in place. The Shellmouth Dam is being operated to reduce the risk of flooding downstream on the Assiniboine River, while at the same time providing sufficient storage for water supply.
  • A flood watch has been issued for the Whitemud River.
  • A high water advisory remains for the Whiteshell lakes area, as levels on most lakes continue to rise due to the recent rain and snowmelt.

Moderate flooding is expected for the Souris River between the U.S.-Canada border to Wawanesa. There is a risk of moderate flooding in the eastern region including the Roseau and Rat rivers and the Whiteshell lakes area. Water levels are generally stable or rising on streams and tributaries. There is a risk of moderate flooding within the Interlake region depending on how the precipitation system impacts the area and how fast the snow melts. There is a low risk of spring flooding in northern Manitoba basins including the Saskatchewan and Carrot river basins. Most major Manitoba lakes are expected to remain within their desirable levels after the spring runoff.

Flood forecasters will continue to monitor precipitation amounts and assess impacts on flows and levels. The most recent river forecast information can be found at www.gov.mb.ca/mit/floodinfo/index.html.

The Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization continues to work with all local authorities and emergency management partners to provide guidance and support for both preparatory and response activities.

Private well owners are reminded to test their wells to determine if they need to take steps to improve water quality and address potentially harmful bacteria. Testing is recommended at least once a year, particularly after the spring run-off or in the event of overland flooding.

For further details on well water testing, visit www.gov.mb.ca/sd/pubs/water/drinking_water/factsheet2_test_wellwater.pdf.

For more information about flooding in Manitoba, visit www.manitoba.ca/flood.