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Volunteers not needed to sandbag over long weekend, city says, as flood crest downgraded again

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WINNIPEG - The province has once again reduced its crest projection for the Red River in Winnipeg, allowing the city to strike another 59 properties off its flood-protection list.

This afternoon, provincial flood forecasters predicted the Red River will crest in Winnipeg no higher than 22.2 feet above normal winter ice level at the James Avenue monitoring station, down from a previous upper-range prediction of 22.8 feet James.

That also means this year’s flood will be the third-highest in Winnipeg since the construction of the Red River Floodway. The 2009 flood peaked at 22.6 feet James, while the 1997 flood peaked at 24.5 feet James.

As a result of the new projection, only 35 more properties will require sandbag dikes in Winnipeg, down from an expected 94. Of these properties, 29 require dike raises of less than one foot, flood-protection officials said.

The work will be conducted using student volunteers next week, which means Winnipeggers will not be asked to volunteer over the Easter long weekend. The work will be completed by Wednesday, April 27.

The city warns that a flood of 22.2 feet James is still a very significant event. When river levels are high, the city’s drainage system is more easily overwhelmed, increasing the risk of sewer backups.

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