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Flood risk in Manitoba's Red River Valley worsens


Staff writers
April 19, 2013 — The flood risk in Manitoba's Red River Valley has worsened, prompting the provincial government to revise its flood outlook on Thursday.


Some rural communities may be evacuated due to flooding
Some rural communities may be evacuated due to flooding

The Manitoba government says the flood risk in the Red River Valley has worsened, partly because of recent snowfall upstream in North Dakota.

"Based on the weather conditions that we've seen in North Dakota, particularly around the Fargo area, we are upgrading the potential flood risk in the Red River Valley," said Emergency Measures Minister, Steve Ashton on Thursday. "The current unfavourable scenario, and I stress that there's always a range that our forecasts look at, indicates that we could be looking at levels in the Red River Valley outside of Winnipeg of up to one foot higher than 2009." 

That means some isolated communities may have to be evacuated. 

Officials say Highway 75, the main link between Winnipeg and the United States, may be closed as well, although no communities are expected to lose road access completely.

Homeowners urged to protect their homes
Homeowners urged to protect their homes

Flood precautions have already begun as a result of the heightened flood risk. 

"My staff are out there today putting a row of super sandbags along First Street and 18th Street," says Doug McNeil, Deputy Manitoba Infrastructure Minister. "We don't expect water in this forecast to hit those super sandbags, but if there is a rapid melt and we see more water than is predicted then we can't react that fast, so we're preparing ahead of time and that's the key we have to keep in mind."

Flood fighting equipment has been placed around the province. This includes two million sandbags and 17,000 super sandbags. 

Dikes damaged during the 2011 flood have been inspected and reinforced as well. 

Water levels of the Assiniboine River are forecast to be well below those 2011, when thousands of people were evacuated.

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