First provincial outlook for 2013 says flood risk lower than in 2011
Published Wednesday, February 27, 2013 11:00AM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 27, 2013 6:42PM CST
Provincial officials released the first spring 2013 flood outlook for Manitoba on Thursday, which calls for a higher risk than in 2012 but not as severe as 2011.
Officials said there is a minor to moderate flooding likely along the Red, Souris, Pembina and Assiniboine rivers and in the Interlake.
"We're not at the stage we were in 2011, but it is a higher than than we were in 2012," said Steve Ashton, the province's minister of infrastructure and transportation.
The reason for the concern is there is more snow than normal in most areas of the province, but the flood potential is less than in 2011 because of lower levels of moisture already in the soil.
Last week, the province sent out crews in Amphibex machines to start breaking up the ice north of Selkirk to help curb the flood risk in some areas.
Other measures have also been put into place.
"To address potential high water flow from Saskatchewan’s above-average snowpack, there has been a controlled release of water from the Shellmouth Dam since February. This will increase its reservoir capacity by approximately 10 feet," said the province in a release.
Shea Doherty of Our Farm Greenhouses, near Portage la Prairie, said the province's intentional flooding of the Hoop and Holler Bend area in 2011 cost his business tens of thousands of dollars.
He hopes the flood outlook this year is more accurate.
"In 2011, they said no flooding - it was upon us really fast," said Doherty.
Last week, officials in North Dakota released that state’s first flood outlook for 2013, information which Manitoba used in its calculations.
North Dakota officials said on Feb. 21 the central and northern Red River basins, which include Grand Forks and Minot, have a minor to moderate flood risk.
The recent warm up in temperatures has meant that officials have had to close the river trail in Winnipeg with river ice starting to melt.
Manitoba's next flood outlook is scheduled to be released at the end of March.
- with a report from Ina Sidhu