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Ice jam breaks west of Winnipeg; rivers expected to rise in city

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WINNIPEG - The Red and Assiniboine rivers in Winnipeg are expected to rise as much as 1.5 feet over the next 24 hours because an ice jam near Holland, Man. has broken up.

But the increase - which will could see the Red rise as high as 20.5 feet above normal winter ice levels at James Avenue - won't affect any additional city properties, flood-protection engineer Grant Mohr said this afternoon.

As of 4 p.m., the Red sat at 19 feet James.

The province expects it to crest in Winnipeg late in April at somewhere between 20.2 feet James and 22.8 feet James.

Right now, all properties in the city are protected to 21.5 feet James, plus two feet of freeboard.

A total of 129 properties would need to be protected for 22.8 feet James, including 94 that do not yet have sandbag dikes.

The city will begin building those dikes over the Easter long weekend - but only if the forecast still calls for a crest above 22 feet James, Mohr said.

If the province changes its forecast next week and no longer expects a crest above 22 feet James, no more dikes will need to be built, Mohr said.

Properties with dikes in place, however, are being asked to leave them intact until the flood season is over.

It is illegal to boat on city rivers right now, as wakes can damage dikes.

History

Updated on Friday, April 15, 2011 at 4:54 PM CDT: Corrects typo.

5:21 PM: Corrects headline error.

5:48 PM: Adds link.

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