Wednesday, April 17th 2019, 12:14 pm - Favourable weather conditions have kept major flood fears at bay in Manitoba, but we still need to monitor the situation
THE RED RIVER CRESTED IN FARGO RIGHT ON CUE
The Red River officially crested at 35 feet on April 8 in Fargo, North Dakota. This was near record heights that were last seen in 2009. Usually, this means that north of the border here in Canada, we will see the Red River crest approximately two weeks later and that's exactly what we are expecting. The flooding may not be as bad as initially feared in Manitoba however, as less snow has fallen over the last month and there has been an ideal gradual thaw thanks to below normal temperatures. In fact, much of the snow vapourzied.
Water can exist in three states: As a solid, a liquid and a gas. When water changes from a solid to a liquid, melting occurs. Water changes from a liquid to a gas through evaporation, however water can skip to liquid stage and go right from a solid to a gas through a process called sublimation. This appears to have happened to the snow pack in the Red River Valley this spring. It vapourized due to ideal weather, and as a result did not add to volume to the river.
FLOOD WARNINGS ISSUED FOR PARTS OF MANITOBA
The anticpated flood level has now been lowered to what the Red River experienced in 2011, and well below the 2009 level that was predicted at the start of the season. The crest of the Red River is expected at the border, in Emerson, Manitoba between April 20 and 22, and in Winnipeg about a week later. The Red River Floodway was activated as of 12 p.m. on April 14. Additionally, Highway 75 a vital link between Winnipeg and the U.S., may not be forced to close as previously feared
For clarification: The 2011 flood referenced above, was for the Red River Valley. This area was spared the catastrophic flooding experienced across western Manitoba of that spring. That flood was considered a 1 in 300 year flood.
Current Flood Warnings
A flood warning continues for the Red River from Emerson to the Red River Floodway channel inlet.
A flood warning is now in place for the Red River in the Netley Creek area and for the lower Netley Creek.
A flood watch continues for the Roseau River.
A flood warning is issued when river or lake levels are exceeding or are expected to exceed flood stage within the next 24 hours, while a flood watch is issued when river or lake levels are approaching flood stage, but likely not within the next 24 hours.
MANITOBA NOT THE ONLY PROVINCE ON FLOOD WATCH
Kashechewan is a Cree community on the James Bay coast in northern Ontario and once again, this area is watching for some significant flooding. About 2,500 community members were preparing to leave the reserve on April 21, but those plans were moved up to April 15 as last winter's heavy snowfall begins to melt. The community's council have declared a state of emergency.
This is not the first time the community has been evacuated for flooding. Every spring, the 2500 residents are asked to leave temporarily to escape the floodwaters of the Albany River. On Monday, April 15 evacuations begun by plane. They are being sent to Kapuskasing, Timmins, Thunder Bay and Cornwall until further notice.
More southern regions of Ontario are poised to receive significant rainfall due to a slow moving, moisture laden system that begins to spread rain on Wednesday and may not exit the region until at least Saturday. Compounding the problem, this rain will be falling on a substantial snowpack in some areas including cottage country and this could add to a rapid melt and increase the flood potential.
QUEBEC FACES THE WORST OF SPRING FLOODING SO FAR
Quebec has seen some of the worst spring flooding so far. The Beauce region in particular has been one of the hardest hit area, when an ice jam broke on Tuesday morning and sent icy water onto roads and into basements in Beauceville. About 230 buildings were flooded along with 36 people forced to leave their homes. Unfortunately, the future forecast is not favourable as the same system set to soak Ontario will bring days of rain from Thursday to Saturday in Quebec. Anywhere from 40-80 mm of rain is forecast.
PARTS OF ST. JOHN RIVER COULD HIT FLOOD STAGE EASTER WEEKEND
We will also be watching New Brunswick's St. John River basin over the coming days as a warming trend and a soggy scenario unfolds. Ice jams along the river could also cause flooding in the area.
According to New Brunswick's flood forecast, Fredericton, Jemseg and Maugerville will either hit or surpass flood stage by Sunday.
"The river's continuing to rise across the board from north to south," said Geoffrey Downey, a spokesperson for the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization in a CBC News report, urging residents to have a 72-hour preparedness kit ready.
Water levels in Fredericton could hit 7.6 metres with flood stage being 6.5 metres. Flood stage in Maugerville is 6 metres, while the water levels in Jemseg could reach 4.4 metres, surpassing the flood stage of 4.3 metres.
With files from meteorologist Chris Murphy and CBC News.