Sandbags being handed out to Winnipeggers preparing for possible flooding

City readies as spring melt hits Winnipeg with warm weather set to arrive in the coming days. Morgan Modjeski reports.

By Morgan Modjeski

The spring melt is well underway in Winnipeg and as thousands of gallons of water dump into the city’s drainage and sewer systems, some in the city are getting prepared.

Loading sandbags into the back of his truck on Tuesday morning, William Porter preparing to help his daughter with any flooding, after having issues last Spring they’re prepping for better outcomes.

“We’re hoping they’re going to be better,” said Porter.

William Porter, Winnipegger preparing for potential flooding. (Photo Credit: Morgan Modjeski, CityNews)

Cars were lined up at 960 Thomas where the city is distributing free sandbags. On Tuesday more than 45 people had loaded up before noon. On Monday, the first day of operation — more than 120 residents stopped by.

Porter says it’s important the city helps residents stay dry and anticipates the massive hill of sandbags at the facility will shrink in the coming days.

“It’s a very good start. Trying to find the sand and the bags, it’s almost impossible, probably in about a week, it will probably be impossible anywhere to get the stuff.”

Palwinder Kaur was on site with her little one to grab some of the flood mitigation tools, as she says last year, the spring melt brought with it some water.

Palwinder Kaur, Winnipegger preparing for potential flooding. (Photo Credit: Morgan Modjeski, CityNews)


“Today I’m just taking 10, but if I need more, they said I could come back, so that’s great too,” said Kaur. “Last year, we had water damage. So I want to put (them) around my house, so I’m thankful for that.”

Working among the pile was Terry Hunstad and he thinks with warmer weather on the way – Wednesday could see temps climb to 15 C – time is of the essence.

“It’s going to melt fast,” said Hunstad.

Terry Hunstad, Winnipegger preparing for potential flooding. (Photo Credit: Morgan Modjeski, CityNews)

Some experts in the city say now is the time to check on or invest in flood mitigation at home like sump pumps.

Colin Baril, with We Love Plumbing says checking the floats and ensuring your drainage paths are clear is critical this time of year.

“This year, on the snow side, it looks like it’s not too bad. It’s been more of a slower melt-up until this week, which has been great. I have had a few people calling for some flooding in their basements due to weeping tiles overflowing into the basement, a couple of little sewer backups, that type of scenario,” said Baril.

While the water is flowing, Baril says there is still time to take action.

“This week, next week, would probably be your last opportunity.”

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