Soil moisture and river levels still above normal, report says ahead of first flood forecast
Trees lean over the Assiniboine River in Winnipeg on Oct. 14, 2016.(Source: Steve Lambert/The Canadian Press)
WINNIPEG -- The province said a recent report on conditions across the Red and Assiniboine River basins shows soil moisture and river levels are still higher than normal, but other factors determining flood risk remain to be seen.
In a news release, Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler said the report provides a snapshot of current conditions.
“The actual extent of spring run-off is still largely dependent on weather conditions between now and April,” he said.
As was the case when a fall conditions report was released in December, soil moisture levels are well above normal in southeast Manitoba, including the Red River Valley, and southwest Manitoba. South of the border, soil moisture is record high. It’s near normal in northern Manitoba.
The report indicates that Manitoba river levels and flows are also still above normal in southern and northern Manitoba, even after declining since fall. In central Manitoba, river levels are in the normal-to-above-normal range, the province said.
Precipitation in most of Manitoba has been below-to-well-below since November, but the U.S. portions of the Red and Souris Rivers have seen upwards of 150 to 300 per cent of normal accumulation.
The province said one factor that appears to be working in Manitoba’s favour is frost depth, which is below normal in most area.
Flood forecasters are working on the first flood outlook of the year, expected in late February, and what happens with the weather between now and April will heavily influence the extent of potential flooding.