Overland flood watch issued for Peguis First Nation, Fisher River Cree Nation

An immediate overland flood watch was issued for two First Nations in central Manitoba on Thursday evening.

Watch is effective immediately Thursday evening, will end mid-Saturday: province

A sign is pictured above flood waters.
A file photo shows Peguis First Nation as it experienced historic flooding in 2022. An immediate overland flood watch has been issued for the community, as well as Fisher River Cree Nation, and will stretch into Saturday. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

An immediate overland flood watch was issued for two First Nations in central Manitoba on Thursday evening.

The watch came into effect for Fisher River near Peguis First Nation and Fisher River Cree Nation around 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, the Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure's Hydrologic Forecast Centre said in a news release.

The watch is scheduled to end at noon on Saturday, but may change with the weather.

With moderate precipitation forecasted for the basin, water levels could surpass "bankfull capacity" during the night or into mid-Saturday, the release said.

Flooding forced more than 2,000 people to evacuate Peguis First Nation last spring, leaving hundreds of homes condemned or unlivable.

Earlier on Thursday, provincial flood forecasters issued an overland flood watch for Winnipeg and eastern Manitoba on Friday, as 20 millimetres of precipitation is expected to fall.

The Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization continues to support local authorities and emergency partners preparing for potential spring flooding, according to the release. They are also working with Indigenous Services Canada to support the First Nation communities.

The spring thaw and warm temperatures have led to surface run-off for most basins in southern and central Manitoba, the province said.

River flows and levels are expected to increase in the coming days as the thaw continues and ice on lakes, rivers and creeks weakens.

Manitobans should keep off the ice as warmer temperatures can result in unpredictable conditions, the province said.

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With files from Brittany Greenslade