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Red River flood outlook shows major flooding possible this spring

Updated: Mar 11, 2019

On February 28th 2019, the Province of Manitoba released their first spring flooding outlook and it is quite grim for the Red River Valley.

"The risk of major flooding in the Red River Valley in 2019 is high".

“Early forecasting data shows that we expect to see major flooding along the Red River, with both the Red River Floodway and the Portage Diversion pressed into service,” Schuler said. “Manitoba Infrastructure continues to gather data and work with counterparts in the United States and Saskatchewan to ensure timely information is available.”

"With normal future weather conditions, levels on the river south of the floodway are expected to be near 2011 levels"
Highway 75 at Morris, MB in 2011 (image from Winnipeg Free Press)
"Unfavourable weather conditions including late-season snow, spring rains and more rapid snowmelt would bring Red River levels comparable to the 2009 levels, which saw extended road closures such as highway 75 and other roads."

Flows on the Assiniboine and Souris rivers are also expected to be high.  However, peak water levels will be below flood protection levels.  Flows may produce some flooding of farmland and low-lying areas.  The Shellmouth Dam will be operated to store a portion of the spring run-off, thereby reducing downstream river flows. Based on long-term weather forecasts, below-normal temperatures are expected in March and April, further delaying snowmelt, with the risk of spring rains occurring at the same time.  Manitoba Infrastructure is collecting ice thickness samples across Manitoba basins.  Ice is expected to be thicker than normal, which would increase the risk of ice-jam flooding.

Historic Crests (1) 54.94 ft on 04/26/1997 (2) 52.71 ft on 04/15/2009 (3) 51.92 ft on 04/24/2011

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