A late spring storm is pushing through western and central Manitoba and is expected to leave up to 25 centimetres of snow in some places.
Snowfall warnings are in place for Dauphin, Minnedosa, Neepawa, Riding Mountain and into the northern Interlake region.
Already, 20 centimetres of snow has fallen in the Dauphin area and 15 centimetres in McCreary. The storm could bring upwards of 25 centimetres in the Riding Mountain National Park and Duck Mountain areas.
Environment Canada says it should stop snowing on Tuesday night, as the storm moves east towards Ontario.
The heavy, wet snow is causing grief for people in some communities, where flash floods are a big concern.
Swan River Reeve Lorne Henkelman said about 15 sections of road there are closed because of flooding. And on Monday, about five homes could not be accessed because the roads were impassable.
"We are hearing those forecasts and hoping that we don't get the full amount that's possibly being predicted for us. It's the last thing we need right now," Henkelman said, adding that sandbag dikes are being constructed around parts of the village of Benito.
Ice jams cause worry
In southern Manitoba, including Winnipeg, the forecast calls for between 10 and 15 millimetres of rain.
The Assiniboine River and Red River levels in Winnipeg are rising fast in southern Manitoba, swollen by meltwater from Saskatchewan (Assiniboine) and from North Dakota (Red) and numerous smaller tributaries.
Red River Floodway
The Manitoba government is worried about ice jams forming along the Assiniboine River from Portage La Prairie to Headingley.
If the jams solidify too much, they can create a dangerous situation. They act like a dam, restricting the river's flow and forcing it to rise extremely quickly.
The water can then spill over the banks, creating flash floods.
Flood control activated
Overnight, the province expected the Portage Diversion to send 2,000 cfs (cubic metres per second) of water out of the lower Assiniboine River.
Instead, 10,000 cfs has been moving through. The province said that shows how substantial the amount of water is and how important the structure is.
The lower Assiniboine can only handle 5,000 cfs.
If the province hadn't been able to operate the diversion when it did, that water surge — coupled with heavy ice-cover — would have caused significant uncontrolled flooding for many Manitobans downstream and rendered the Portage Diversion itself inoperable, according to officials.
The flood control structures are used to rapidly redirect some of the water into other channels, easing the stress on riverbanks and providing more room in the event of a sudden surge in height.
In the case of the Portage Diversion, the water is sent from the Assiniboine through a 29-kilometre channel that starts near Portage la Prairie and runs north to Lake Manitoba.
The Red River Floodway is a 48-kilometre diversion channel that runs around the east side of the city from St. Norbert in the south to Lockport in the north.
People who operated the KOA campground in Headingley, west of Winnipeg, are closely watching ice and water.
A worker who asked not to be identified said if the Assiniboine goes up any higher, they will have to turn power off.
People in the area say the water has risen eight feet in the past 24 hours.