Conditions report outlines Manitoba’s flood risk, forecast for summer months

Manitoba’s Hydrologic Forecast Centre has issued its 2022 Summer Conditions Report, calling for a higher than normal risk of flooding on most major lakes and near-seasonal temperatures.

Manitoba’s transportation and infrastructure minister Doyle Piwniuk released the report Wednesday, noting that after a long and unprecedented spring flood season, many Manitobans want to know how all the precipitation the province received will impact summer conditions.

“The 2022 Summer Conditions Report provides a high-level overview of current basin conditions, the forecast summer precipitation and temperatures, and the expected flows and levels for Manitoba’s major rivers and lakes,” he said in a news release.

The report notes from April 1 to June 19, most of southern Manitoba received near-record precipitation that caused a prolonged spring flood period.

The report found the province’s fourth-largest flood in history was recorded on the Red River, while flooding was observed on the Winnipeg River system, the Whiteshell lakes and Fisher River.

Record flooding was also observed in the Parklands region and along the tributaries of the Red River, the report said. Unprecedented rains in addition to very saturated soil resulted in significant and widespread overland flooding across the province, resulting in multiple road closures and damages to crossings and infrastructure, the report noted.

Piwniuk said the Red and Assiniboine rivers are forecasted to remain at or above normal flows throughout the summer and fall until freeze-up, adding it is unlikely the water supply for communities along the rivers will be a concern though summer.

The report noted flows on the Waterhen, Fairford and Dauphin rivers will remain near normal through summer.

Meanwhile, Lake Manitoba, Lake Winnipegosis and Lake St. Martin are expected to be back within their operating ranges this summer, Piwniuk said, adding Lake Winnipeg is likely to remain above the operating range.

As most lakes continue to be above normal seasonal levels, the report finds the risk of flooding on most major lakes in Manitoba will remain higher than normal throughout summer due to wind effects.

The report said climate models indicate a potential for normal to wetter-than-normal precipitation for July, August and September. Temperatures are forecasted to be near normal to warmer than normal for most Manitoba basins

Additionally, the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center’s outlook shows below-normal precipitation and near-normal temperatures within the U.S. portion of the Red and Souris river basin from July to September.

The report also notes soil moisture in most Manitoba basins is normal to above normal, with some areas indicating well-above normal soil moisture conditions. These wet basin conditions are predicted to contribute to increased surface run-off if heavy summer precipitation develops, Piwniuk said.

The full 2022 Summer Conditions report can be found on the province’s website.

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