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Looking ahead at Manitoba's spring season

Staff writers
March 5, 2012 — The Manitoba Water Stewardship has released a positive flood outlook for the 2012 spring season, thanks to a relatively dry and mild winter.

Projected temperatures across the country
Projected temperatures across the country

The winter of 2011/2012 has been relatively dry across Manitoba, and that may have an impact on the spring season ahead.

''The Prairie provinces actually have a reputation for having blizzards," says Dayna Vettese, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

"But what we’ve noticed this year is that there haven’t really been any blizzards."

It's this lack of snow that has prompted the Manitoba Water Stewardship to release a positive flood outlook for spring. 

But Steve Topping of the Stewardship is cautioning people to be mindful of future weather.

"I’d have to say the winter of 2008 was quite comparable to this season," he says.

"That was the year that we didn’t have to operate the Portage Diversion or Red River Floodway, but future weather is pivotal at this point in time. We’re at a juncture where if we get sustained dry conditions we could see a drought," he says, noting that a large snowstorm, similar to the one the region in April, 1997, could increase the flood potential.

A snowstorm late in the season could increase flood risk
A snowstorm late in the season could increase flood risk

Mosquitos are another seasonal topic that has everyone in Manitoba buzzing.

Taz Stuart is an entomologist with the city of Winnipeg, and he says that the winter season can provide clues about the mosquito population in spring.

If dry conditions persist, the population may be down in the months ahead.

That's because there will be fewer bodies of water present, along with little run-off - both of which are essential to breeding mosquitos. 

"Officially, we're looking good," Stuart says. "But I don't like making big predictions far in the future because we could get a whole bunch of rain in the spring and that could change everything."

Visit the 2012 Spring Outlook to learn more about spring conditions across the country.

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