Low risk of spring flood in Manitoba this year, first flood forecast says
Manitoba's Hydrologic Forecast Centre says well-below normal snow levels make flooding unlikely
Spring flooding in Manitoba this year is very unlikely, says the first flood forecast of the year from the province.
The Manitoba Hydrologic Forecast Centre's spring thaw outlook says the risk of high water in southern and central Manitoba is low due to below normal soil moisture at freeze-up and well below normal snow levels this winter.
There is a low to moderate risk of high water levels for northern Manitoba, a news release from the province says.
The Portage Diversion may operate to reduce ice-related damage on the Assiniboine River.
Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler says the province doesn't anticipate having to operate the Red River Floodway, "assuming we don't have an epic storm — which we could still have" in the coming weeks.
Manitoba would have to see storms bringing 100 centimetres or more of snow and rain over that time, which isn't likely, he said.
However, Manitobans could be facing a drier spring, since the province saw little snow during the winter and had a fairly dry fall last year, he said.
That could be problematic for farmers' crops, he said, though he said he wasn't prepared to call it a drought.
"We think it's important to notify people that we are potentially facing a drier spring, [and] that they conduct their affairs accordingly, certainly when it comes to dugouts which are used to water, cattle and animals. We'll be monitoring all of that," he said.
The next spring thaw outlook, planned for late March, will have a more detailed assessment, the news release says.
The Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization will organize a series of spring conditions seminars for local authorities and emergency services personnel, with information on the latest forecast on water levels for the major water systems in the province.