Flood forecasters watching closely as Manitoba expected to get more rain over coming days
Strong winds Saturday could cause water levels in flooded areas of Red River Valley to rise by up to 6 inches
Flood forecasters in Manitoba say they're keeping a close eye on a series of precipitation systems that could bring between 40 and 60 millimetres of rain to much of the province over the next five to seven days.
There's also a high chance some areas will get more than 60 millimetres of rain, the province said in a flood bulletin on Saturday afternoon.
Manitoba's hydrologic forecast centre will update its water level forecasts to determine the effect all the rain will have on areas already experiencing flooding, the bulletin said.
Right now, forecasts suggest southern and central Manitoba will get strong south winds later Saturday and overnight with gusts up to 80 km/h.
That could cause water levels in flooded areas of the Red River Valley south of Winnipeg — from Letellier to Rosenort — to rise by up to six inches.
Waves could also add to the temporary rise in water levels, which could result in water temporarily covering roads, the flood bulletin said.
Twenty-six Manitoba communities have now declared local states of emergency, the bulletin said, while four municipal emergency operations centres have been activated.
Rivers near crest
The Red River is near crest at Emerson, while the Fisher River is near crest at Peguis First Nation and Fisher River Cree Nation — both of which declared states of emergency this week.
Peguis Chief Glenn Hudson said the outlook isn't good for the community, but they'll continue to fight for their homes.
"There may be rain coming, so we continue to sandbag and put up Tiger tubes around our homes here in the community," he said in an interview on Saturday.
"You can't beat Mother Nature."
Flooding continues in the Interlake, Red River Valley and many other parts of central and southern Manitoba, the bulletin said.
However, that flooding is now becoming more concentrated around rivers, streams and drains that are above capacity as water moves through the system.
People who live in these areas should keep an eye on local conditions and take any necessary flood mitigation actions, the province says.
The floodway, along with the Portage Diversion, are both still operating to lower water levels in Winnipeg.
Water levels are still rising in the Red River Valley, with peak levels forecast to be similar to 2009 levels at Emerson, and slightly lower — between 2011 and 2009 levels — from Letellier to the Red River Floodway inlet.
The 2009 Red River flood was the worst since the flood of the century in 1997. The peak flow for the river just south of Winnipeg that spring was 97,000 cubic feet per second.
Flow in the floodway channel was near 40,000 cubic feet per second Saturday morning, the bulletin said, while flows upstream of the floodway inlet were at approximately 79,000.
But water levels are expected to stay high for a while in many parts of southern and central Manitoba, the bulletin said.
Highway 75 — the main route from Winnipeg to the U.S. — remains closed both north and south of the town of Morris, with detours in place. Details about highway closures across Manitoba are available on the province's website.
Several warnings and high water advisories are in effect:
- A flood warning remains in effect for the Red River from Emerson to the Red River Floodway inlet and from the Red River Floodway channel outlet to Lake Winnipeg.
- A flood warning remains in effect for La Salle near Sanford, Pembina, Boyne, Morris and Little Morris rivers and the Deadhorse, Shannon and Netley creeks. All other Red River tributaries remain under a flood watch.
- A flood warning remains in effect for the Fisher and Icelandic rivers.
- A flood warning remains in effect for the Assiniboine River from the Shellmouth Dam to Brandon.
- A flood warning remains in effect for the Whiteshell lakes area.
- A flood warning remains in effect for the Whitemouth and Birch rivers. A flood watch is issued for the Rat River and remains in place for the Roseau River.
- A flood watch remains in effect for the Whitemud River.
- A high water advisory is issued for streams in the Parkland region that drain out of the Duck and Riding Mountains due to rapid increased in flow and water levels.
With files from Emily Brass