Manitobans prepare for flood impacts as weekend precipitation continues

Digital WritersThe Weather Network
Digital Writers

Officials are worried that the province’s third storm in three weeks will push local waterways out of their banks.

The latest Colorado low is making Manitoba’s soggy situation worse with more rain and snow continuing into Sunday. An additional 10-25 mm will fall over southern regions and a further 20-40 mm to northern Interlake regions over the next 24 hours.

Locally heavier amounts of up to 60 mm are possible, especially in any thunderstorms or lingering bands of heavy rain. With an already saturated ground and with river banks nearing full capacity, these totals could bring about localized flooding.


Rain may transition to wet snow early Sunday morning in southern Manitoba as surface temperatures cool to near freezing. The rain-wet snow mix will taper off from west to east on Sunday. The heaviest snow will stay in northeastern sections of the province, where 20-30 cm of snow is possible through the weekend.

A flood warning remains in effect for the Red River from Emerson to the Red River Floodway Inlet, as well as the La Salle River. An overland flood warning is also in effect for parts of the region. A flood watch remains for all Red River tributaries.

According to Manitoba's Hydrologic Forecast Centre, water levels on the Red, Assiniboine and many other rivers are increasing. Water levels could increase rapidly with this weekend’s precipitation as soils are saturated in many areas.

Provincial officials have predicted that the Red River would crest in about a week and a half near the level of the river’s memorable 2009 flood.

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While the level of flooding would be lower this time around because there’s no ice left on the river, such a high crest would still be “a significant event that will likely close most of Highway 75 for several weeks and require the precautionary evacuation of several dozen properties that may lose road access to emergency services,” CBC News reported on Friday afternoon.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) issued widespread rainfall warnings for the southern half of Manitoba ahead of this weekend’s system. “Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads. Localized flooding in low-lying areas is possible,” ECCC said in its warning.


Officials continue to warn residents to stay off local waterways, as the risk for high flows, debris, and cold temperatures all present a significant safety risk.

We're looking forward to a more favourable pattern heading into the first week of May. Drier and warmer conditions should build across the eastern Prairies behind this weekend's system. Beneath clearer and calmer skies, Winnipeg’s daytime highs should climb around or slightly above seasonal by the middle of the week.

Contains files from CBC News

Thumbnail courtesy of Walter Zilkie, taken in Winnipeg, Man.