Manitoba at risk of flooding in 2023 after record-setting wet year: expert

With the most recent rainfall in Winnipeg it’s now the wettest year on record in the city’s history. Mike Albanese shows you how we got here with extreme weather events throughout 2022.

By Mike Albanese

Winnipeggers are not mistaken if they’ve felt this year was consistently rainy or gloomy.

In fact Winnipeg in 2022 has seen the most precipitation ever since records started being kept in 1873.

“Winnipeg has set its wettest year on record as of the morning of Oct. 24,” said Scott Kehler, the chief scientist at Weatherlogics.

“The city has received 740 millimetres, already well past the previous record of 723 millimetres set back in 1962.”

Winnipeg’s second snowiest winter ever affected these numbers, as snow, hail and rain all contributed to precipitation totals.


Winnipeg saw a very wet spring thanks to some Colorado Lows, and another Colorado Low brought 33.3 mm from Sunday night to Monday – double what Winnipeg saw all October.

Kehler says that type of weather has been a double-edged sword for farmers, who just experienced the driest year on record in 2020.

“We went from a drought to a flood,” said Kehler. “That definitely gave farmers the moisture they needed but it hindered seeding in the spring.”

Potential flooding next year

This wet year also sets Manitoba up for potential issues in 2023.

“If we get another snowy winter or wet spring, the flood potential will be even worse next year because of the soil’s saturation.”

“Some climate change science suggests that extremes could be more extreme, and it’s reasonable to suggest things calendar wise are also shifting,” added Natalie Hasell, the warning preparedness meteorologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada. “It’s been very, very warm in some parts of Western Canada. Edmonton got their first frost (Sunday), that’s a record latest frost.”

As Manitoba sat under a dark cloud all year, Western Canada also saw unique weather patterns.

B.C. and chunks of Alberta have repeatedly been under a ridge of high pressure for months on end, causing a lack of precipitation. Hasell says people living in B.C. were asked to use less water due to drought conditions.

FROM JUNE: Flooding causes major damage in southern Manitoba

For Manitobans hitting the roads, Hasell says check conditions as snow and freezing rain have hit parts of Manitoba.

“This storm has also affected southern Alberta, southern Saskatchewan – a lot of their roads are still closed,” she said. “These are not easy conditions to work with, so if you don’t have to travel, don’t. And if you do, please bring an emergency kit.”

With still two months to go in 2022, Winnipeg is likely to further surpass that last record set in 1962. An estimated 46 millimetres could still fall in the next two months.

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