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Honourable , MLA Thompson
April 18, 2013

Flood Outlook

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the house today to provide a brief statement on the newly upgraded Flood Outlook.

Recent record snowfall in North Dakota has increased the flood threat on the Red River. Continued unfavorable weather could result in flood levels on the Red River half a foot to one foot higher than in 2009.

As everyone in the house is well aware, we are experiencing unseasonably cold weather this spring. This has delayed the spring melt and has increased the chance of a rapid melt. The potential for spring rainstorms could aggravate overland flooding and increase flows on tributaries.

Based on the current weather forecast, melt and subsequent run-off could start as early as this weekend. It is expected that the Red River will not crest in the United States until mid-May, meaning the crest could arrive in Winnipeg as late as the last week of May. With unfavorable conditions, levels at James Avenue could reach 21.5 ft. at James Avenue.

The forecast indicates partial closures will be required for all 18 Red River Valley community ring dikes. The forecast indicates PTH 75 will be closed. A PTH 75 detour was in place for 36 days in 2009. The forecast indicates evacuations for rural homes and farms are to be expected.

The Government of Manitoba has equipment and material ready to respond to the need for dike closures. Ice jams were a significant issue on the Red River north of Winnipeg in 2009. Since then the province bought out 86 vulnerable homes in Breezy Point, St. Clements and St. Andrews.

The Premier met today with the Mayor of Brandon to discuss flood preparation. The province has already stationed a sandbag machine in Brandon and has started installing a super-sandbag dike along 18th Street as a precautionary measure. The evolving flood situation points to the wisdom of the significant investments in flood protection infrastructure that we have put in place in Manitoba and the need for further investments in the future.