The Manitoba government's latest spring flood forecast raises the risk of flooding in the Assiniboine River and some other waterways, but the Red River's flood risk is unchanged.
Officials announced Wednesday that additional snowfall in Saskatchewan and cooler temperatures, delaying the spring runoff, have raised the likelihood of moderate to major flooding on the Assiniboine and Souris rivers.
The province's outlook, the third to be issued this season, also raises the flood risk for the Roseau and Pembina rivers to moderate to major, based on information from forecasters in the United States.
For the Red River, the risk of flooding remains at moderate to major, meaning there's no change from the province's last forecast in March. Officials said ice jams remain a major concern for parts of the Red.
The last flood forecast predicted a moderate to high risk of flooding on many of the major rivers in the province.
Much like the last forecast, officials are warning of the possibility of a flood similar to the one in 2009, but nothing as severe as the 2011 flood.
Weather a big factor
Weather will be a major factor in the coming weeks. Forecasters say they believe there will not be much of a spring melt until April 15 or later.
Response to task force report
Last week, an independent task force that reviewed the Manitoba government's handling of the 2011 flood issued 126 recommendations with regards to flood forecasting, preparedness, response and communications, as well as the operation of flood control structures.
On Wednesday, Emergency Measures Minister Steve Ashton said implementing 96 of the 126 recommendations would cost more than $1 billion.
Seventy-five per cent of the recommendations have been or will be implemented, Ashton said.
Delays in the melt could result in an increased spring runoff, a rapid melt and a greater risk of major ice jams, especially near Winnipeg, they said.
Forecasters said the best weather scenario would involve temperatures just above 0 C during the day and just below freezing at night, in order to keep the thaw gradual.
Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg have substantially less water in them compared to 2011.
Still, dike closures are likely along the Red River, and there may be a need to create a detour around Highway 75 to the Canada-U.S. border, according to officials.
The Red River Floodway will be put into use, regardless of what weather conditions develop in the next few weeks, according to the province.