Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Rivers rising after ice jam breaks

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THE Red and Assiniboine rivers in Winnipeg are expected to rise as much as 1.5 feet today because an ice jam on the Assiniboine near Holland, Man., broke up on Thursday.

It's projected the Red will rise as high as 20.5 feet above normal winter ice levels at James Avenue, city flood-protection engineer Grant Mohr said. As of Friday afternoon, the Red sat at 19 feet James. But this increase won't affect any additional city properties along the Red or Assiniboine, as all riverfront properties in Winnipeg have been protected against levels up to 21.5 feet James, plus two feet of freeboard, or wiggle room.

Flood Fight

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

A total of 129 properties would need to be protected against the high end of this range, 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 province continues to call for a crest above 22 feet James.

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

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

The preliminary crest in Winnipeg this year took place on April 7, when an ice jam at the Redwood Bridge pushed the Red River up to 20.8 feet James.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 16, 2011 A3

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