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Manitoba flood risk looking lower than previously thought: meteorologist

The Red River floodway in a 2019 file photo. Michael Draven / Global News

The COVID-19 pandemic may be top of mind right now, but with warmer weather comes something else that could affect many Manitobans — flood season.

The Red River is rising in North Dakota and is predicted to hit major flood stage next week, but according to a meteorologist with the U.S. National Weather Service in Grand Forks, the forecast looks favourable for the Manitoba side of the border.

Greg Gust told 680 CJOB that warmer-than-normal conditions over the next couple of weeks are a good sign for the annual melt in Manitoba.

“It’s been slow and low, just like that pandemic curve, for thawing so far, and that’s been great,” he said.

“It looks like we’ll be able to start moving some of that water into the river systems, at least in a polite mode, over the next week or two.”

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READ MORE: Manitoba government says communities will be consulted on flood project

Gust said the water levels will also be impacted by any precipitation that falls over the next little while, but says the forecast doesn’t show much rain.

“Well, we’re going to have a little bit of sprinkles and showery-type stuff… but that’s not really a lot of moisture at all into the system,” he said.

“That’ll help the thaw process without adding huge amounts of moisture into it.”

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Premier Brian Pallister said Monday he was cautiously optimistic about possible flooding in Manitoba — though much will depend on temperature and further precipitation.

“Our projections are very good,” said Pallister. “We’re never, ever going to take it for granted. Mother Nature can throw a curveball at us, as it has in the past and will in the future.

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“But we are optimistic and hopeful that based on the projections, our flood likelihood is greatly reduced from what we might have thought some weeks ago.”

Click to play video: 'Pallister says public safety, flood protection for Manitoba discussed with Trudeau' Pallister says public safety, flood protection for Manitoba discussed with Trudeau
Pallister says public safety, flood protection for Manitoba discussed with Trudeau – Jan 20, 2020

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