Spring is bringing more showers to Winnipeg. Heavy rain is being forecast over the next 24 hours, which means more precipitation will be added to the already high Red River water levels. Around 15 mm is expected to pour down on the city and that combined with the spring melt, could be problematic.
City officials say that during periods of high river levels, normal sewer system capacity is greatly reduced. The potentially heavy rain could increase the risk of sewers backing up house sewer lines and flowing into basements, especially those not protected by sub-pumps and backwater valves.
“Our sewer system doesn't drain that well under these conditions,“ said Grant Mohr, the city's land drainage and flood protection engineer.
20 temporary pumps have been set up in low-lying areas to help move the rainwater. However, “If the land drainage system fills up with water, water spills out on the street and then it gets into our wastewater manholes, and that's how basements get flooded,“ explains Mohr.
It's expected that 34 permanent flood pumping stations will be in operation and that some raw sewage might be drained into the Red River.
It's being suggested that homeowners prepare for the onslaught of rain by extending their eavestrough downspouts away from basement walls.
Earlier this week, officials opened the gates of the floodway for the first time this season. The man-made water diversion channel was designed to protect Winnipeg from spring flooding.
South of the border, the Red River peaked sooner and at lower levels than expected in North Dakota and Minnesota. And so far, the weather conditions have been ideal for less flooding.
'There wasn't as much snow this year, and we had a gradual melting of the snow that did fall,' says Weather Network meteorologist Mark Robinson.
In addition, crews were also quick to complete some aggressive ice-breaking earlier this month.
Last year was southern Manitoba's third-worst flood season of the century, next to the spring of 1950 and 1997.
For more details on what kind of weather conditions you can expect in southern Manitoba this week, make sure you tune into The Weather Network on TV. Your National forecast comes up at the top and bottom of every hour.