Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Red River becomes roller-coaster due to moving ice

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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 started out Sunday morning at 16.6 feet above normal winter ice levels at James Avenue and rose to 18.1 feet James by the afternoon. After ice began to move on the Red north of James Avenue, it receded to 17.3 feet James -- and then spiked to 18.9 feet James, above the maximum crest expected later this week.

Earlier in the day, the province predicted the crest would not exceed 18.75 feet James.

City spokeswoman Lisa Fraser said flood-protection managers were monitoring the fluctuating water levels and did not believe any more Winnipeg properties required flood protection. Three have been protected so far.

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

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

In order to manage Winnipeg river levels without using the floodway, the province said it will divert more of the Assiniboine River's flow to Lake Manitoba for the next two to three days.

Flows on the Portage Diversion may 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 positioned Amphibex icebreakers in Winnipeg in the event they are needed to break up jams.

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

bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 21, 2014 0

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Updated on Monday, April 21, 2014 at 7:49 AM CDT: adds photo, adds video

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