Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation’s Hydrologic Forecasting and Water Management office advises that provincial flood forecasters are assessing recent and ongoing snowfall. Once the snowfall stops in southern Manitoba and in North Dakota, forecasters will have an opportunity to more clearly assess the potential impact.
Based on the long-range weather forecast, provincial flood forecasters have also concluded that cooler than normal temperatures have delayed the spring melt. A later spring melt increases the likelihood that the melting snow pack and normal spring rains will occur at the same time. A later spring melt also increases the likelihood that warmer temperatures will result in a rapid melt. Both these factors could contribute to increased flooding.
Forecasters advise it is unlikely, in 2013, that Manitoba will see the prolonged river flooding and high lake levels that unfolded in 2011. At the time of freeze-up in 2012, soil moisture levels were significantly lower than the unprecedented and wide-spread wet conditions seen in 2010 prior to the major 2011 floods. At that time, there were high soil moisture levels at freeze-up followed by heavy precipitation in winter and spring.
Provincial forecasters are finalizing the March flood outlook, which will be presented early next week. Following that flood outlook, provincial officials will work with all municipalities to provide them a breakdown of what the forecast means for local flood preparedness needs.