August 6, 2020

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Province issues high-water level warning with more rain forecast

Winnipeg had 153.1 millimetres of rain in September, including 40 mm during a single rainfall on Sept. 20, which flooded various walkways connected to The Forks riverwalk system. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press files)</p>

Winnipeg had 153.1 millimetres of rain in September, including 40 mm during a single rainfall on Sept. 20, which flooded various walkways connected to The Forks riverwalk system. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press files)

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 8/10/2019 (302 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

When it comes to precipitation, Manitoba can't seem to catch a break.

After an unseasonably dry summer, the province (specifically the southern portion) was pelted with near-record levels of rainfall in September, troubling farmers, raising water levels and dampening the spirits of those clinging to summer.

On Tuesday, temperatures in Winnipeg rose to 21 C. Environment and Climate Change Canada says to not get used to it: a cold front from the west and a low-pressure system from the U.S. are on their way, bringing some parts of the province as much as 25 millimetres of rain, possibly snow, and temperatures around zero over the next week.

"We have not had a chance to recover," said Natalie Hasell, a warning preparedness meteorologist.

In September, several communities in southern Manitoba received as much as three times the normal amount of precipitation, throwing some into a state of emergency as roads and fields filled with standing water.

Winnipeg had 153.1 mm of rain, including 40 mm during a single rainfall Sept. 20; in Steinbach, 189 mm of rain fell. Meanwhile, the levels of bodies of water in those regions rose, leading the province to issue a high-water advisory.

The amount of rain that fell in the province in September flooded many farmers' fields, including Fiona Jochum's in St. Francois Xavier. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press files)</p></p>

The amount of rain that fell in the province in September flooded many farmers' fields, including Fiona Jochum's in St. Francois Xavier. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press files)

With more precipitation expected soon, the province reiterated the advisory Tuesday. The infrastructure department's hydrologic forecast centre expects water levels to continue to rise along the Whiteshell lakes and in the south-southeastern segment of the province.

"Maximum effort is being done to limit the high-water level conditions of these lakes. However, levels may continue to be above normal level for a few more weeks due to the unusually wet fall," a provincial release stated.

Levels on the Red and Roseau rivers are anticipated to continue to rise, and are expected to peak over the weekend. The Red at James Avenue in Winnipeg is forecast to reach as high as 14.59 feet Oct. 11-13; Hasell said that will likely result in the Assiniboine rising as well.

At The Forks, the riverwalk is closed and inaccessible due to the water levels, said Larissa Peck, manager of marketing and communications. It's the third time this year it's been closed.

The seasonal docks have been removed, which is normally done this time of year, and the site's team prepared for high water by removing garbage cans, lighting and other infrastructure in advance.

Since Monday, Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued a special weather statement for southern Manitoba.

Hasell said with rising water levels and more expected precipitation, its important Manitobans are prepared for the conditions. In southeastern communities under a state of emergency, she warned the situation might take time to improve.

"If you're travelling to those areas, be flexible and have a Plan B," she said. "You might be able to get in, but not out."

ben.waldman@freepress.mb.ca

Ben Waldman

Ben Waldman
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Ben Waldman covers a little bit of everything for the Free Press.

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