Winnipeggers urged to protect homes against flooding amid forecasted storm

A mixed bag of precipitation is in the forecast for Winnipeg, and the city is reminding residents to take necessary precautions to prevent flooding.

Environment and Climate Change Canada issued a  special weather statement  for Winnipeg, and much of southern Manitoba. It said we could see around five cm of snow by Thursday night.

The city said crews are ready to deal with the potential snowfall. They are monitoring road conditions and have salting operations ready to go when needed. It said no winter parking bans are currently in effect. 

The city said as of 10:30 a.m. Wednesday the river level at the James Avenue gauge was 14.03 feet, which is the highest autumn crest Winnipeg has seen since November 2010 when it crested at 13.3 feet. With river levels at a record high, the province said the  Red River Floodway  could be activated Wednesday. 

The average river level for this time of year at the James Avenue gauge is between six to nine feet.

The city said at this time there are no properties at risk of river flooding. 

“The City continuously reviews its flood preparation measures and activities, including monitoring river levels and weather conditions, preparing pumping stations, deploying temporary pumps to protect the sewer system, and closing outfall gates, as needed,” said a news release. 

It said it will continue to monitor weather conditions and river levels to determine flood protection measures. 

The risk of basement flooding increases as river levels rise, as the sewer system relies heavily on pumping stations rather than gravity to carry the water runoff due to higher river levels, the city said. 

To prevent basement flooding, homeowners are reminded to:

-Arrange for a licensed plumber to install a sewer line backup valve and a sump pit with a pump;

-Inspect backup valves and sump pump drainage systems to make sure they’re functioning properly;

-Ensure drainage is directed away from the home by extending downspouts away from the basement walls, and ensure the earth is built up around the house.

The city is also reminding property owners it is against the law to drain sump pump water into the basement floor drain, or any other part of the home’s plumbing system, as it can overtax the sewer system and cause their basement or neighbouring properties to flood.