City announces flood crest expected Easter weekend
Published Monday, April 6, 2020 1:24PM CST Last Updated Monday, April 6, 2020 5:26PM CST
WINNIPEG -- The City of Winnipeg is currently expecting the Red River to crest in the coming days.
The preliminary estimate was announced by Jay Shaw, assistant manager of emergency operations for the City of Winnipeg, on Monday during a news conference.
“We’re looking at over the Easter weekend, so (April) 13, 14, type of area,” he said. “We’re working with the province to be able to solidify those dates a little bit more."
“We anticipate some water spillage into the floodway, potentially as soon as the river levels start to go up.”
Later Monday, the city said they're expecting the flood crest between James Avenue to be between April 12 – 17.
As of 2:30 p.m. on Monday, the river level at the James Avenue gauge sits at 15.57 feet. River levels, found on the City of Winnipeg website, are updated every ten minutes.
A total of 41 properties were identified Monday as needing sandbag dikes built to protect them.
CITY ABLE TO HELP
Shaw said the city can provide assistance to people who need to sandbag to protect their homes from flooding, noting exceptions can be made due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We recognize that the homeowners may be experiencing difficulties in finding volunteers to help build these dikes,” he said. “In these instances, the city may provide assistance.”
He adds it would require evaluating the property to determine the need, and assisting the homeowner with finding volunteers.
Shaw added the city will take physical distancing measures into effect when sandbagging.
“If we’re washing our hands, if we’re not showing up to build a sandbag dike if you’re sick, if you’re sick, please stay home, and if you’re using gloves and a little bit of protective equipment, then we really minimize the risk as best as possible,” he said.
“We know Winnipeggers and Manitobans are going to step up and help each other up as the weather warms up and we need to be able to build these dikes.”
Sandbagging a home remains the responsibility of the homeowner, including finding volunteers, said Shaw.
City workers are monitoring the river levels and working with the province to decide whether additional properties need sandbag dikes.
Only property owners notified directly from the city are considered at risk, but if someone thinks their property is at risk and hasn’t heard from the city, they should contact 311.
Property owners are also urged to be aware of other types of flooding including basement, overland, and snowmelt.
Winnipeggers can pick up sandbags for overland flooding at the following three locations between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.: 1220 Pacific Ave., 1539 Waverley St., and 960 Thomas Ave.
The city reminds people to take the following steps to protect against basement flooding: Have a licensed plumber install a sewer line backup valve and sump pit with a pump in the basement; check backup valves and sump pump drainage system to make sure they’re working; and make sure drainage is directed away from the home.
-With files from Kayla Rosen