WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s wet winter could cause major overland flooding in the spring, according to the province.
The government sent out an early flood forecast Monday morning.
“We have experienced some unusual winter weather to this point that has contributed to an expanded risk of overland flooding in Manitoba,” Infrastructure Minister Blaine Pedersen said.
“At this time, we need to be aware of the potential for flooding with the understanding that we have a couple more months of winter weather and the uncertainty of the spring melt rate.”
The 2017 January Conditions Report shows overland flooding is estimated to be moderate to major in most areas of the province. The report notes this could change depending on weather conditions between now and the spring melt, with February and March flood outlooks further defining the flood potential.
Areas at risk
The province is preparing for unfavourable weather conditions and the scenario of highest flood risk, Pedersen said. At this time, with future unfavourable weather conditions:
• The Red, Souris, Pembina, lower Assiniboine and Roseau rivers and the southwest region of the province are currently at risk for major flooding.
• The upper Assiniboine River, eastern region, Winnipeg River, northern Manitoba and The Pas regions including the Saskatchewan, Carrot and Swan rivers, are currently at risk for moderate to major flooding.
• The Interlake region and the Fisher River are currently at risk for moderate flooding.
According to Environment Canada, this month saw the second rainiest day in January on record. A total of 2.9 millimetres of rain fell on Jan. 20, 2017.
A record amount of rain also fell across the province in October.
Winnipeg also experienced more snow in December than it has in over 100 years, according to Environment Canada.
At the beginning of December, Infrastructure Minister Blaine Pedersen said there is a chance of moderate to major flooding in some areas.
“In addition to freeze-up moisture and base river flows, other factors yet to be determined are winter and spring precipitation, melt rate, frost index and river and lake levels prior to spring runoff,” Pedersen said.