Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Winnipeg property owners sandbagging against rising Red
Floodwday gates to rise tonight; Flood threat in Fargo downgraded again
The owners of seven Winnipeg properties are building small sandbag dikes tonight as a precaution against rising levels on the Red River.
The Red River has risen to 15.5 feet at the James Avenue monitoring station and is expected to continue rising overnight. See a graph of the daily river-level data in Winnipeg.
As a result, the city has advised seven St. Norbert-area properties to have dikes in place tonight. Another 11 will be on standby on Tuesday in the event the Red continues to rise, city flood-protection manager Grant Mohr said.
The Red River in Winnipeg rose dramatically over the weekend, but is expected to rise more slowly or stop rising following the operation of the Red River Floodway controls structure at 6 p.m. Monday, Mohr said.
The Red may, in fact, be higher than measurements suggest in Winnipeg, as the city is experiencing problems with the river-level gauge at the James Avenue monitoring station, Mohr said.
Nonetheless, he described the dike-building in St. Norbert as a precaution. Four of the seven dikes underway are small.
No volunteers are needed, he said. Earlier today, the city asked volunteers to register with 311.
Floodway gates to rise
The Red River Floodway gates will rise at 6 p.m. this evening, provincial officials said late this morning.
As of 8 a.m., the level upstream of the floodway was 750.7 feet above sea level, rising 6.6 feet in the last 24-hour period, officials said. Levels upstream of the floodway are expected to continue to rise at a similar rate due to increasing flows from tributaries.
In accordance with floodway operating rules, the horn will sound at the inlet control structure at 5:30 p.m., 30 minutes before operation of the gates.
When the gates are raised, water levels rise on the Red River south of the gates. Flood water is then forced into the floodway channel on the east side of the city. Read more on floodway operation.
The province warned that boaters should avoid using any waterways until all ice has cleared and river levels return to normal. Navigation is restricted south of Winnipeg due to operation of the gates and the potential for turbulent water.
The Red River is expected to crest in Winnipeg around the Victoria Day long weekend at somewhere between 17.8 and 20.5 feet at the James Avenue monitoring station, depending on the weather.
Flood threat downgraded in Fargo
Meanwhile, for the second time in as many days, the U.S. National Weather Service has downgraded the flood threat for Fargo, N.D.
The weather office’s hydrologic prediction service is now predicting the Red River to crest at 35.5 feet at Fargo on Wednesday, a level more than five feet below the record crest of 40.84 feet set in 2009.
Earlier this flood season, Fargo was preparing for the possibility of a record flood crest. Favourable weather has allowed the city to exhale a bit. A 35.5-foot crest would rank as the ninth-largest flood in Fargo’s recorded history – a significant deluge, but likely not enough to pose problems for flood fighters.
The National Weather Service continued to predict a 46-foot crest for Grand Forks – nowhere near a threat to the city’s floodwall – and a trendline leading toward a crest below 50 feet at Pembina, N.D., a level similar that experienced in the 1995 Red River flood.
Updated on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 1:41 PM CDT: Adds call for volunteers.
1:53 PM: Adds new photograph.
3:55 PM: Removes call for volunteers, adds update from city.
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