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Red River exceeds expected crest

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River levels in Winnipeg fluctuated on Easter Sunday as Red River floodwaters pushed up against ice in the city and began to move it downstream.

The Red in Winnipeg rose from 16.6 feet above normal winter ice levels at James Avenue on Sunday morning to 18.1 feet James by 3 p.m.. After ice began to move on the Red north of James Avenue, it receded to 17.3 feet James by 5 p.m.

As of 6:45 p.m., it spiked to 18.9 feet James, above the maximum crest expected later this week. The province predicted the crest would not exceed 18.75 feet James.

A city spokeswoman said officials are monitoring the fluctuating water levels and do not believe any more Winnipeg properties require flood protection. Three have been protected so far.

As of midnight, the Red had receded back to 17.1 feet James.

The province continues to expect the Red to crest for the season on Tuesday or Wednesday. The Red crested at the Canada-U.S. border early Saturday morning.

The Red River Floodway apparatus is not operating due to the continued presence of ice on the river. Nonetheless, about eight per cent of the Red's flow upstream of the floodway is spilling into the floodway channel on its own.

In order to manage Winnipeg water flows without using the floodway, the province plans to divert more of the Assiniboine River's flow to Lake Manitoba for the next three to four days. Flows on the Portage Diversion will be increased from about 4,000 cubic feet per second to about 7,000 cfs in an effort to draw down Assiniboine flows east of Portage la Prairie from 5,000 cfs to 2,000 cfs.

The Portage Diversion has a maximum normal capacity of 25,000 cfs.

The province has positioned amphibex icebreakers in Winnipeg in the event they are needed to break up jams.

The province has issued a high-water advisory for streams in southeastern Manitoba. A high-water advisory remains in place for the Assiniboine River between Holland and Portage la Prairie.

bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Sunday, April 20, 2014 at 7:02 PM CDT: Story updated, photo added

7:42 PM: Fixed spelling of headline

9:36 PM: video added

12:08 AM: Story updated

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