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Winter storm a flood threat: province

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WINNIPEG - A winter snowstorm and high winds could threaten the province's flood defences, Emergency Measures Minister Steve Ashton said Friday.

The Red River could see 20 to 30 millimetres of rain while Melita, 350 kilometres west of Winnipeg, could see 35 to 45 mm of rain, possibly causing overland flooding.

The province has warned the community of Sioux Valley to shore up its dike and has issued an advisory that people behind dikes do what they can to protect the north sides by adding more sandbags.

The storm and the already high amount of flood water in the system will delay the crests on the Red and Assiniboine rivers from Saturday to May 4, the province's top flood fighter said.

Flooding south of the city will also see Hwy. 75 at Morris stay closed until mid-May.

The water flow at James Avenue in downtown Winnipeg is now larger than the floods in 1950, 1979 and 1996.

Winds gusting up to 40 to 70 kilometres an hour may also ice pile-ups on the province's lakes, from Oak Lake and Pelican Lake near Brandon, to Lake Winnipeg.

Ashton said bad weather over the next two days is crucial to how will flood defences in some open areas hold up, because of high winds.

At the same time, a high amount of water is still flowing on the Assiniboine River into Manitoba from Saskatchewan.

History

Updated on Friday, April 29, 2011 at 3:35 PM CDT: Adds rainfall amounts.

11:22 PM: updates throughout

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