Monday November 24, 2014

Slow melt: Manitoba downgrades flood forecast, no evacuations expected

WINNIPEG - Manitoba has downgraded the flood risk in the province's Red River Valley.

Steve Ashton, minister responsible for emergency services, says cool temperatures, little precipitation and a slow melt have made the difference.

Water levels are expected to be closer to what they were in 2006 when Highway 75 to the U.S. border was closed for 18 days and not as high as the last serious flood in 2011.

Community evacuations are not expected, but some farmers may have to leave their homes if they lose road access.

Temperatures are expected to rise into the teens this weekend and officials are predicting snow will begin to melt faster.

They say the runoff could cause some overland flooding and ice jams.

The province says its amphibious ice breakers will be on standby.

"Your ideal scenario ... was the kind of weather we've had," Ashton said Friday. "Not too hot during the day, cooler at night, lack of precipitation.

"I can't remember the last time in southern Manitoba you went from November to just a few days ago without ever going above five degrees, so that weather has made a significant difference."

The Red River is expected to crest at the Canada-U.S. border in the second week of May and in Winnipeg in the third week of May.

It was just over a week ago that the province revised its outlook to suggest the risk of flooding was getting worse.



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