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Facing fears, fighting floods


Flood fears rising
Flood fears rising

Chris Murphy, Weather Broadcaster, The Weather Network

April 17, 2013 — Predictions are being made and possibilities are becoming probabilities. The tell-tale signs of spring flooding are everywhere and comparisons to the disastrous years of 2009 and 2011 are being invoked.

Comparisons to the disastrous years of 2009 and 2011 are being made
Comparisons to the disastrous years of 2009 and 2011 are being made

People are worried. 

It's been too cold, there's too much snow and not just in Saskatchewan or Manitoba but upstream in North Dakota too. 

Anticipating the spring thaw is akin to poking a grizzly bear with a stick: eventually the beast will awaken. Exactly how ferocious that beast will be is still the great unknown. 

This much is certain; there will be flooding in North Dakota, Saskatchewan, and especially Manitoba because that is where the mighty rivers drain. And it is there where the battle of human vs nature is truly at work.

Billions of dollars have been spent building, upgrading and modifying the lines of defense. There are floodways, dams, dikes, ice cutting machines, river diversion, sandbags and super sandbags. People are united in their nervous resolve to do whatever it takes to ensure that it won't be their home this year that takes the brunt.

Communities band together as the flood threat increases
Communities band together as the flood threat increases

The next two to three weeks will determine by and large how extensive the spring flooding could be. 

River forecasters, meteorologists, farmers, cottage dwellers and homeowners will be watching the skies above and the rivers below closely.

Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst is the motto to live by in this uncertain time.

It will all boil down to how much precipitation falls, the timing and rate of the thaw, and of course, the rivers themselves. In other words, forces beyond our control. 

But this battle is worth fighting since this is where some of the most fertile land in the country is located. 

Combining lessons learned from the past, a sophisticated flood fighting arsenal and the camaraderie of communities as neighbours fill and stack sandbags together. 

We won't say no to a bit of blind luck and divine intervention in this anxious time of year.

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