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Flood situation improves slightly

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The flood situation improved slightly Monday as dikes and other flood protection measures steered high water from towns and homes, the province said today.

Also helping is good weather in the forecast, Emergency Measures Minister Steve Ashton said, adding the province's flood control measures like the Shellmouth Reservoir, Portage diversion and Red River Floodway will handle flood waters on the Assiniboine and Red Rivers.

The province estimates that without those controls, the Red River near The Forks would be 28.3 feet today, almost 10 feet higher than it is now. Without the Shellmouth Reservoir, it is estimated the Assiniboine River in Brandon would be approximately two feet higher than current water levels.

The Red River is closely following the lower range of the forecast peak for most points. It crested in Emerson Sunday at 790.29 ft., approximately 0.5 ft. below 2009 levels

Flooding throughout the province has now displaced 1,772 people, mostly from Roseau River First Nation south of Winnipeg and Peguis First Nation on the Fisher River northwest of the city. Most people left their homes because high water had flooded out access roads.

The province also said this spring's flood will likely hang around until early June, affecting mostly farmers who have land close to rivers or some lakes. The high water will prevent them from seeding their field this spring, if at all.

Water levels on lakes is also forecasted to be high this year. The water level at Gimili on Lake Winnipeg was 715.21 Monday.

Also on the flood front:

- Ice jams have cleared on the Saskatchewan and Carrot rivers near The Pas. Water levels on both the Saskatchewan and Carrot rivers have decreased approximately 1.5 feet since yesterday. An Amphibex and other heavy equipment was used Sunday to release ice jams near the Bracken Dam and throughout the downstream reach of the Carrot River.

- There will be prolonged high water levels on the Qu'Appelle River at St-Lazare. The community still has almost five feet of freeboard on their dike.

- The Shellmouth Reservoir will be operated today to increase outflows without negatively impacting communities downstream on the Assiniboine River.

- River levels in Melita are dropping and, for the most part, water is no longer against the temporary flood-tube protection that was placed in the community last week.

- High water levels are still being reported on the Plum Creek at Souris and flood-tube barriers are still in place to protect homes along the creek. The Souris River at Souris is close to crest.

- The Souris River is expected to crest in Wawanesa in the next few days. Adequate flood protection is in place in the community.

- At St. Adolphe, PTH 210 will be ramped at the east side of the dike to allow for local access.

- Due to lower water levels, the ring dike closure on PTH 30 at Gretna will be opened today.

- There are 79 provincial roads affected by flooding, with 53 of those roads closed. There are approximately 600 municipal roads closed due to flooding.

- The Souris River is forecasted to crest in Wawanesa tomorrow and maintain sustained high flows for three to four days.

-  In Winnipeg, no more sandbag dikes need to built this flood season, as the province has reduced its crest projection for the Red River in the Manitoba capital.
 
Late last week, the City of Winnipeg was planning to raise sandbag dikes around an additional 35 properties to prepare for the flood's crest.
 
But on Sunday, the province projected the Red will crest no higher than 21.3 feet above normal winteer ice levels at James Avenue, which is only half a foot higher than the ice-jan induced crest Winnipeg experienced on April 7.
 
As a result, City of Winnipeg flood protection engineer Grant Mohr has called off the remaining sandbag-dilke work in Winnipeg.
 
No more dike raises are needed in Winnipeg this season, he said today.
 
Existing dikes should be maintained, however, as water levels will remain high for weeks.
 
So will the risk of basement flooding, as heavy rains have the potential to overwhelm the city's drainage system when river levels are high.
 
The Red and Assiniboine are expected to crest in Winnipeg within seven to 10 days.
 
The flood of 2011 is the third-highest in Winnipeg since the construction of the Red River Floodway.
 
The highest floods were 1997 and 2009, when the Red crested at 24.5 feet James and 22.6 feet James, respectively.

For more information, go to www.manitoba.ca/flooding.

History

Updated on Monday, April 25, 2011 at 3:45 PM CDT: Adds detail, quotes

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