Manitoba Daily

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Manitoba might be flooded to the same levels as in 2009

Manitoba might face flood levels similar to those seen in 2009.

Key Takeaways:

  • A storm expected to hit Manitoba this weekend, according to the ministry, could bring flooding to approach 2009 levels.
  • Floodwaters may exceed 2009 levels, which were the biggest flood since 1997, according to preliminary assessments, according to Unduche.
  • Botha stated that the flood levels could cause hundreds of evacuations, but this would be due to flooding blocking access to villages.

The ministry warns that a storm forecast to reach Manitoba this weekend could cause flooding to rising to 2009 levels.

A fourth precipitation system is expected to hit Manitoba on Friday afternoon, according to Fisaha Unduche, executive director of Manitoba’s hydrologic forecasting as well as water management.

According to Unduche, the average amount of precipitation in the Red River basin for this time of year is merely 28 mm. However, the basin average for this year is already at 80 mm, which is around 300 percent of normal, according to him. Since 1950, the most southern basins have received the greatest precipitation.

“Sadly, we’ll be monitoring another significant system over the weekend,” Unduche said, adding that this system may bring 30 to 80 mm of rain to southern Manitoba basins.

Also read: Due to flooding, a Manitoba community has declared a state of local emergency

“Most creeks, as well as rivers, are already full due to the last system and snowmelt, as the earth is well saturated by this time. This precipitation may just add to the system’s water supply.”

As a result, he added that the province has issued a flood warning for most of southern Manitoba’s basins.

Though the actual impact of the storm will not be known until it hits, Unduche said Environment, as well as Climate Change Canada, predicts rainfall of 30 to 90 millimeters around Fargo in the US portion of the basin and 60 millimeters in southern Manitoba.

According to preliminary estimates, floodwaters could surpass 2009 levels, which was the worst flood since 1997, according to Unduche.

According to him, water flows in Emerson might range from 78,000 to 98,000 cubic feet per second (CFS) this year, while in Ste. Agathe, they could range from 90,000 to 115,000 CFS. Unduche reported high flows of roughly 87,000 CFS in Emerson and 91,000 CFS in Ste. Agathe in 2009.

Despite this, according to him, the levels will be considerably below the community flood protection thresholds, which are two feet higher than the 1997 levels.

Emerson’s peak levels are forecast on May 7 and May 9 and might last until May 14.

The Red River watershed is still at risk of moderate to catastrophic flooding due to the additional precipitation.

“We’ve sent over 20,000 sandbags and sandbagging machines to areas in need,” said Johanu Botha, associate deputy minister and head of Manitoba’s Emergency Management Organization.

Slow spring melt leads to improved Manitoba flood outlook | CBC News
Manitoba might face flood levels similar to those seen in 2009. Image from CBC News

He said the province is also assisting with evacuation plans and pumping efforts.

“Overall, our emergency response system has been beefed up, and we are well-positioned to respond to whatever circumstances may arise,” he said.

Botha stated that the flood levels could result in dozens of evacuations but that this would be primarily due to floodwaters preventing access to villages. Six villages have declared local states of emergency due to the flooding, according to Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Doyle Piwniuk.

“We’re constantly expecting the worse but hoping for the best,” Piwniuk explained. “We’re going to cooperate with all municipalities and Manitobans to ensure that everyone is safe and receives the help they require.”

The Red River in Winnipeg might reach 20 feet at James Avenue in the days following the storm, according to Unduche. With the Portage Diversion and the Red River Floodway in place, he said the province intends to keep the levels at James Avenue at 19 feet.

“The Assiniboine River is already under a flood alert from St Lazar to Brandon. We’re talking about flooding in low-lying areas with minimal property damage.”

Source: CTV News

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