Monday, April 29

Cheri Chartier

Cheri is a teacher in St. Lazare.

I live in the tiny community of St-Lazare, located where Assinibione and Qu'Appelle rivers meet, so flooding is a concern from two directions.

Right now, people seem to be more concerned about whether winter is ever going to end. We just want spring to get here even if it means a potential flood.

The weather is still cool but somehow the sun seems to be melting the snow slowly. We live in a valley and the hills are dry and some of the ditches are even dry, which is a really good sign in an area prone to flooding.

We've all been watching the melt, complaining when we hear about the snow in the forecast again, and again. And we woke up to snow again on Wednesday morning. I think it goes without saying that at the end of April, we are sick and tired of snow.

2011 vs. 2013

This year differs from 2011,when I remember we had one massive snowfall in the spring but normal snowfall during the winter.

I think the problem was more of a wet fall and they were predicting well before Christmas that it could be a bad year for flooding. When the spring snowstorm hit, the flooding was already a problem.

We had the 'where is all this water coming from?' problem because our own snow hadn't melted yet and there was water everywhere. The ditches were so full there was nowhere for the water to go, and then we had the snowstorm.

It was just such a mess you couldn't imagine where all that snow was going to go and we watched the waters rising, knowing that the water in the river was coming from elsewhere. The Lake of the Prairies reservoir was holding back as much as it could, and we still had all of our own melting and runoff to add to it.

Being downstream from the water control structure at Lake of the Prairies, we keep an eye on what is going on there. This year they have kept the lake levels so low there that the fish are dying in massive numbers. Of course, that isn't good news either, but low lake levels make us a lot less nervous about catastrophic flooding downstream. Nobody wants a once-in-300-year flood like 2011 to become a once-in-three-year event.

Right now, nobody wants to be caught off-guard, so the government, media, etc., are keeping a close eye on the situation. As for our community, the main concern seems to be the never-ending winter.

We are supposed to have a warm weekend, the remaining snow will likely melt rapidly and without the snow on the ground it will be a lot easier to see the potential for flooding. 

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