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Assiniboine to remain at very high levels

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The Assiniboine River is going to remain at very high levels for the next six to eight weeks as a huge amount of water has yet to drain from neighbouring Saskatchewan.

The upshot, if you’re a Winnipegger, is you’ll be lucky to see the river walk at The Forks by Canada Day.

Steve Topping, the province’s chief flood fighter, said Thursday that much of the water heading our way from Saskatchewan has yet to cross the border.

That includes water from as far away as near Regina, which will flow into the Qu’Appelle River, as well as the coming release of water from Saskatchewan’s Rafferty Reservoir on the Souris River. Both the Souris and Qu’Appelle rivers flow into the Assiniboine.

As well, there is still a lot more water to flow into the Assiniboine from the Kamsack, Sask., area, Topping told a media briefing on Thursday.

"We could see this prolonged flooding (for) up to six to eight weeks before we get any significant declines," he said of the Assiniboine.

Provincial flood experts predict that before the flood season is over flows along the Assiniboine will be 50 per cent greater than during the 1976 flood — the high-water mark for that stream.

The Assiniboine near Miniota reached a record high level on Wednesday, three inches above the 1976 record. However, that doesn’t mean that there will be records set at other locations downstream, Topping said.

Meanwhile, the province projected Thursday that crests along all points of the Red River in Manitoba will be below 2009 levels.

The Red was to crest at St. Jean Baptiste Thursday and was at near crest levels at Ste. Agathe and Morris.

The Red and the Assiniboine rivers are both expected to crest in Winnipeg on Saturday, with levels on the Red at James Avenue expected to peak between 20.4 feet and 21.3 feet, Emergency Measures Minister Steve Ashton told the legislature Thursday. In 2009, the Red River crest was 22.6 feet at James Avenue.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

 

Flood facts

— Highway 75 is now closed south of Morris to St. Jean Baptiste because of flooding.

— There were 1,981 Manitobans displaced as of Thursday due to flooding -- mainly because of a loss of safe road access.

— 81 provincial roads are affected by flood waters, with 50 closed or limited to local access only. Another 600 municipal roads are under water.

— The Red will peak below 2009 flood levels for its entire length in Manitoba.

— The Red was near crest levels at Ste. Agathe and Morris on Thursday and is expected to max out in Winnipeg on Saturday.

— The Red at James Avenue on Thursday was 18.8 feet above normal winter ice levels.

— The Shellmouth Reservoir in western Manitoba is forecast to receive near-record volumes of water from upstream waterways prolonging the crest period along the Assiniboine

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