Here’s what the province is forecasting for spring flood season

Manitoba’s Hydrologic Forecast Centre said the province’s risk of significant spring flooding is low to moderate.

The assessment comes in the centre’s March flood outlook report released Tuesday.

It found normal to below-normal soil moisture at freeze-up and well below-normal to above-normal winter precipitation for most Manitoba basins has led to a low to moderate risk for significant spring flooding.

The province said water levels are expected to remain below dikes and community or individual flood protection levels.

However, officials caution the outlook could change depending on future weather conditions, including the rate of snow melt and the timing and amount of snow and rain that fall between now and the spring runoff.

Meantime, the spring flooding risk is low for the Red River and its tributaries, low to moderate for the Assiniboine River and its tributaries and the Interlake region, including the Icelandic and Fisher rivers.

It is generally low for the Souris, Qu’Appelle, Rat, Roseau, Pembina, Saskatchewan and Churchill river basins, as well as the Whiteshell Lakes region.

Like most years, there is a risk of ice jam-related flooding in areas historically susceptible to jamming.

The province said most Manitoba lake levels are normal to below normal, and are forecasted to remain within their operating range after spring runoff.

Officials noted the Red River Floodway is not expected to operate this spring flood season based on the current forecast.

However, the province said minimal operation of the Portage Diversion might be needed due to unfavourable weather conditions to control levels on the lower Assiniboine.

The Shellmouth Reservoir is being operated to reduce the risk of flooding downstream on the Assiniboine, while also providing storage for water supply and recreation.

The province cautions the forecast could change depending on weather conditions between now and spring melt.

While there is no significant precipitation in the forecast for much of Manitoba over the next week, the centre said it is monitoring a potential system that could bring up to 25 millimetres of precipitation to the United States’ portion of the Red River Basin.

The province also noted gradual runoff has started in some southern Manitoba basins, including in the Red River Valley. Levels are starting to rise along the Red River’s main stem, and the province cautions residents about the impact of rising water levels and the risks of weak ice on the river.

As flood season unfolds, the Hydrologic Forecast Centre will start issuing daily flows and level forecasts, which will likely be by the end of the month or the first week of April.

The full 2024 spring flood outlook can be read on the province’s website.

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