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Heavy rainfall leads to another flooding alert

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Another flood alert has been issued for southwest Manitoba.

Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation's Hydrologic Forecast and Water Management Centre said Wednesday water levels on the Assiniboine and Souris rivers are rising due to recent heavy rainfall.

The Assiniboine and Souris rivers watershed has received 280 to 300 per cent above-normal precipitation from Aug. 19 to Sept. 1 or up to 120 millimetres.

Peak flows of 12,000 to 12,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) are expected to reach Portage la Prairie sometime today.

The province said the Portage Diversion will only be reopened to handle excess water if western Manitoba gets hit by more heavy rain. The forecast call for parts of southern Manitoba to see up to 50 mm in some areas today, which could raise Assiniboine River flows up to 14,000 to 15,000 cfs.

The forecast water flows on the Assiniboine River downstream of Portage la Prairie could cause some overland flooding. Provincial officials are working with local governments on flood-protection measures.

Some of these areas saw flooding earlier this summer when the Assiniboine rose above its banks.

Provincial officials said their preference is not to reopen the diversion, as it needs to be as water-free as possible to allow for critical repairs and maintenance after handling this summer's floodwater from the Assiniboine. The Portage Diversion was open for more than 100 days this year to deal with unprecedented summer flooding.

It could be soggy in many other parts of the Prairies over the next few days.

Environment Canada has issued heavy-rainfall warnings for parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan, as well. It says it only issues warnings when rainfall exceeding 50 mm is expected.

In Alberta, the rain fell as snow Wednesday near Longview in the southwestern part of the province, while it was rain in Lethbridge and points east.

The weather office warned a low-pressure system was going to drop from 20 mm to 40 mm of rain in south-central and southeastern Saskatchewan Wednesday.

-- staff, with files by The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 4, 2014 A5

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