WINNIPEG - The worst-case scenario for a Red River crest in Winnipeg has been reduced to the level of the 2009 spring flood, as provincial flood forecasters have modified their projections.
The Red River is now expected to crest in Winnipeg no higher than 22.8 feet above normal winter ice level in the coming weeks, which is 0.2 feet above the crest of the 2009 flood, the second-largest in recent history.
At the same time, the scale of overland and river flooding across the province is unprecedented, provincial officials said this afternoon.
"We're still dealing with flooding on an unprecedented geographic scale," said Steve Ashton, the provincial infrastructure and transportation minister, referring to flooding along the Red, Assiniboine, Morris, Roseau, Souris, Fisher, Icelandic and Saskatchewan rivers, as well as in many rural municipalities.
"At times it may appear the severity of the flood is significantly less," Ashton said. "I want to stress this is a very serious flood."
Approximately 55 highways are closed across the province, partial ring dikes are in place at six Red River Valley communities and about 300 people have been forced from their homes on three First Nations, he said.
"I want to stress many of these evacuations are precautionary," Ashton said.
As a result of the new provincial forecast, the City of Winnipeg has reduced the number of properties on its flood-protection list to 129 from 560.
Thirty-five of these properties have sandbag dikes in place that can handle a Red River level of 22.8 feet James.
Another 94 will need to build up their dikes. All but five are located on Kingston Crescent, Scotia Street and Glenwood Crescent.