Manitoba’s Infrastructure and Transportation’s Hydrologic Forecast Centre has released 2013’s third spring flood outlook, and the news is less than ideal for some Manitoba residents. The forecast issued three main points:
- Additional snowfall in Saskatchewan and continued cool temperatures have delayed snow melt and kept frost in the ground much longer than normal across Manitoba, increasing the likelihood of moderate to major flooding for the Assiniboine and Souris rivers.
- Based on additional information from American forecasters, the outlook also indicates the flood risk has increased from minor to moderate to moderate to major for the Roseau and Pembina rivers.
- The risk remains moderate to major for the Red River, as indicated in the March outlook, and is also unchanged for the northwest and Interlake regions of the province.
Lingering cold temperatures and the potential for heavy precipitation in neighbouring provinces and states are the major factors in the increased risk of flooding. A Government of Manitoba release explains that the delayed melt has left a number of water sources with significant ice coverage, resulting in “below-normal flows for the month of April.” Much will depend on weather conditions in the very near future. “The timing and rate of the spring thaw will have a significant effect on flood potential,” the release explains. “Delayed melt and the potential for spring rainstorms could result in rapid snow melt, aggravating overland flooding and increasing tributary flows.”
The government has begun preparations, placing flood-fighting equipment at important points around the province to aid any response in case of emergency.