Andrea Stockton, staff writer
April 26, 2011 — Water levels are dropping in Manitoba and weather conditions are improving this week. Still, officials expect high levels into June.
The flood situation in Manitoba has improved slightly. Most of the snowpack has melted and emergency officials say dikes and other flood protection measures are doing their job.
Water levels are dropping and crests are coming in below the levels of the last significant flood in 2009.
The Weather Network's Natalie Thomas is in Winnipeg and she spoke to Emergency Measures Minister Steve Ashton. He said even though the flood levels are comparable to the flood of 2009, this is a flood of extended duration.
“We're going to see an extended period of flood impacted areas. Also it's very likely for an extended period of high water levels in our lakes and rivers. We could be seeing high water levels in Winnipeg for example, well into June.”
After speaking with several residents in the area, Thomas said the mood is rather calm as most people are used to dealing with flood levels of this magnitude.
“I'm not saying that this isn't a big deal-- it's just these people are so prepared. The province learned so much after 1997 that they will never let that happen again (if they can help it),” explains Thomas.
Steve Topping with the Manitoba Water Stewardship assures the flood control defences can handle whatever is left to come.
Although Manitobans seem to be prepared for the spring flood, over 1,000 people have evacuated their homes this year as a precautionary measure. Winnipeg's Evacuation Reception Centre tries to make the process as easy and comfortable as possible.
Evacuees register at the centre to help reunite any family or friends. Families can also register for financial assistance provided by the Government of Manitoba.
“Family Services can help with basic needs to provide monies for food, whether that means restaurant meals or through grocery allowances as well as personal needs and accommodations,” explains Brian Malkowich, lead of Family Services.
The weather this week is helping to keep the flood situation stable and residents are looking forward to the improving conditions.
“This is great, we're finally at the zoo for the first time this year and tomorrow we're going to crack open our pool,” said one enthusiastic Winnipeg resident.
Meanwhile, another family has plans set for the entire week. “We're going to go bike riding and we're going to take walks to the park.”
To say updated on the flood situation in Manitoba, tune into The Weather Network on TV. The newscast comes up at :12 and :42 past each hour.
With files from The Canadian Press