Recent snowstorms and a delayed snowmelt have increased the likelihood of flooding in southern Manitoba.
Flood experts now expect Highway 75 will be underwater for a time this spring and that community ring dikes along the Red River will have to be closed.
Flooding along the Red is expected to be worse than in 2011, but not quite at the level of 2009.
The good news so far is Assiniboine River levels are projected to be far lower than two springs ago, with a peak in Brandon 10-12 feet lower than in 2011.
Similarly, Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin are not expected to balloon in size as they did in 2011 when thousands of Manitobans were displaced due to flooding.
"We are a flood-prone province. We deal with this every year. We’ve been preparing for this year’s flood and we’ll ramp up our efforts as necessary for whatever comes forward," Doug McNeil, Manitoba’s deputy minister of infrastructure and transportation, said Monday.
Flood officials are concerned with the size of this year’s snowpack and the fact cooler-than-normal temperatures have delayed the snowmelt. The worry here is there will be a large rapid melt later that could be exacerbated by more precipitation.
"Staff are assessing the snowpack, how much has fallen, how much water content there is in the snow," McNeil said Monday. That information will be factored into the province’s next flood outlook, which is expected to come out early next week.