Flood risk still high as Manitoba expects high temps following latest snow storm

By Swidda Rassy

Manitobans are digging out after a Colorado low storm system has brought up to 25 centimeters of snow to parts of the province. While some school children celebrate a snow day, there are concerns over how this spring snow will increase flood risks.

“For a lot of the spring so far, it has been colder than normal and it has been fairly snowier so it’s felt a little bit more like winter,” said Kyle Fougere, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.

Jay Doering, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Manitoba adding, “The risk is higher but let’s sort of think about word risk. What we’re really saying is as we continue to add additional precipitation we will experience higher flows, and we will experience higher water levels. We are nowhere near the series of six back-to-back low-pressure systems that really walloped us in 2022.”

Last year’s spring flood cost the province almost $400 million in total damages, making it the second costliest flood event since 2000. A recent report from Manitoba’s Hydrologic Forecast Centre shows a major risk of significant spring flooding along the Red River.

“We are expecting major flooding meaning that the red will leave its banks, but the flood levels we’re expecting don’t pose any risks to ‘ring dike’ communities nor do they pose any risk to Highway 75 going underwater,” explained Doering.


He adds the flood risk is not a major concern as of yet, but there is a wild card — a fast melt.

“If the onset of the melt happens very very quickly, that increases flow and that increases water levels.”

The forecast shows temperatures are trending upwards.

“There is a bit of a change on the horizon where this weekend we’re finally going to see temperatures warm up and it’s going to be above zero,” said Fourgere.

According to Environment Canada, as of Wednesday afternoon, Winnipeg is expected to see -2ºC and snow Thursday, before moving to 0ºC Friday, 4ºC on Sunday with the overnight low staying above 0ºC. By Monday, 16ºC.

While the prairies might soon experience warmer temperatures, Environment Canada is warning to not break out the flip-flops just yet, as there still may be more snow on the way.

“It’s still spring and there are likely to be more storms as we go forward so this isn’t necessarily the last winter storm that we’ve seen through this year.”

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