Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Longer flooding due to rain, snow

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THIS weekend's barrage of rain and snow will prolong the spring flood but will not cause significant new problems.

"With the developments of the last 24 hours, it's pretty clear that the weather is a significant factor on our flood-fighting efforts," Manitoba Emergency Measures Minister Steve Ashton told the daily flood briefing Sunday.

Flood Fight

"We've been dealing with the dual challenge of significant winds and rain and snow," Ashton said. "It will extend what has already been an extended flood season."

Lake levels will be high into June, Ashton said.

But the storm is not expected to cause significant water-level rises on the Assiniboine River.

Ashton said Manitoba's flood preparations spared heartache and havoc from the storm but nobody should expect to relax yet.

"The majority of our flood preparations did hold, but we're not taking anything for granted. The wind did damage some dikes in the Red River Valley," Ashton said. Fierce winds whipped up swells two-thirds of a metre high and there were whitecaps on the Red.

"Keeping the integrity of our dikes is a top priority," Ashton said.

Top flood-fighter Steve Topping and Emergency Measures Organization boss Chuck Sanderson said the main stem of the Red River may experience a more prolonged crest and slower recession, but there will not be an increase in peak water levels.

The peak will pass through Winnipeg from today through Thursday.

In the Souris River Basin, some streams affected by high-elevation snowfall will see another peak.

"It's very clear the Parkland area received the greatest amount of snow. Some areas received up to 50 centimetres of snow and it will have a significant impact on the flood, extending it," Ashton said.

Flood warnings have been issued for the Souris River from Melita and all downstream reaches; the Assiniboine River downstream of the Shellmouth Bridge to Portage la Prairie, the Pipestone Creek, all reaches; Oak Lake and Plum Lake; and Plum Creek to the Souris River, to the town of Souris.

alexandra.paul@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 2, 2011 A8

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